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HealthPartners Institute researchers study use of lavender to promote sleep in dementia patients

July 19, 2017

St. Paul, Minn. (July, 18, 2017) — Researchers from HealthPartners Institute’s Center for Memory and Aging are studying whether the soothing scent of lavender could help dementia patients get a good night’s sleep. Ten patients will be part of a pilot study that will use aromatherapy lavender patches on night clothes at bed time for five weeks.

“Sleep disturbance is a common and troubling symptom that often accompanies dementia,” said Dr. Bhavani Kashyap, research associate, HealthPartners Institute. “Families often struggle with management of sleep disturbance in people with dementia living at home. It is one of the main factors that can contribute to the decision to place a person in a skilled nursing facility versus staying in their own home.”

This pilot study expands on Center for Memory and Aging past studies that looked at the effect of lavender. Use of lavender and other essential oils has been successful in places like English Rose Suites. They are memory care assisted living facilities in the Twin Cities area.

“I will never forget the first time I saw the positive support essential oils provided our residents,” said Katie Rinehimer, quality of life director, English Rose Suites. “I always knew they worked, but it was validating to see essential oils helping change a resident’s mood while using them.”

“A good night’s sleep is important to your brain health,” said Sue Spalding, CEO, Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter. “We’re excited about the possibilities HealthPartners Institute’s lavender study can bring in helping those in need. It could provide relief not only to Alzheimer’s patients, but to their caregivers.”

About HealthPartners Institute

HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. One of the largest medical research and education centers in the Midwest, the Institute has about 450 studies underway each year, trains more than 500 medical residents and fellows and more than 500 students, and provides continuing medical education for 25,000 clinicians as well as patient education and clinical quality improvement. For more information, visit

About the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-Dakota Chapter

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 for support.

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