Sleep, cognition and dementia

Sleep contributes to brain health and cognitive function. Disturbances in sleep lead to cognitive impairment and are prevalent in dementia. Sleep may be a target for interventions that could slow down disease progression and improve clinical symptoms and cognition.


We aim to increase our understanding of the relationship between sleep/circadian rhythms, cognition, and dementia, and improve the quality of life of both people living with dementia and their carers.

Our focus is on identifying and validating appropriate and novel technologies for long-term monitoring of sleep in dementia and the delivery of interventions. 

We are currently funded by the Dementia Research Institute as part of the Care Research and Technology Centre with Imperial College. 

Current research projects

Selected publications

Winsky-Sommerer R, de Oliveira P, Loomis S, Wafford K, Dijk DJ, Gilmour G. Disturbances of sleep quality, timing and structure and their relationship with other neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia: Insights from studies in patient populations and animal models. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2019 Feb;97:112-137. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.09.027. Epub 2018 Oct 9. PMID: 30312626.

Sani TP, Bond RL, Marshall CR, Hardy CJD, Russell LL, Moore KM, Slattery CF, Paterson RW, Woollacott IOC, Wendi IP, Crutch SJ, Schott JM, Rohrer JD, Eriksson SH, Dijk DJ, Warren JD. Sleep symptoms in syndromes of frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease: A proof-of-principle behavioural study. eNeurologicalSci. 2019 Nov 4;17:100212. doi: 10.1016/j.ensci.2019.100212. PMID: 31828228; PMCID: PMC6889070.

della Monica C, Johnsen S, Atzori G, Groeger JA, Dijk DJ. Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, Sleep Continuity and Slow Wave Sleep as Predictors of Cognition, Mood, and Subjective Sleep Quality in Healthy Men and Women, Aged 20-84 Years. Front Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 22;9:255. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00255. PMID: 29988413; PMCID: PMC6024010.

View all our selected publications

Improving sleep and circadian disruption - UK Dementia Research Institute

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk is developing new technologies that can measure a person’s sleep and wake patterns at home, which will enable large state-of-the-art studies and investigations into new interventions to enhance healthy sleep and circadian rhythm in people with dementia.