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Blue-Enriched Lighting for Older People Living in Care Homes: Effect on Activity, Actigraphic Sleep, Mood and Alertness

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Objective: Environmental (little outdoor light; low indoor lighting) and age-related physiological factors (reduced light transmission through the ocular lens, reduced mobility) contribute to a light-deprived environment for older people living in care homes.

Methods: This study investigates the effect of increasing indoor light levels with blue-enriched white lighting on objective (rest-activity rhythms, performance) and self-reported (mood, sleep, alertness) measures in older people. Eighty residents (69 female), aged 86 ± 8 yrs (mean ± SD), participated (MMSE 19 ± 6). Overhead fluorescent lighting was installed in communal rooms (n=20) of seven care homes. Four weeks of blue-enriched white lighting (17000 K ≅ 900 lux) were compared with four weeks of control white lighting (4000 K ≅ 200 lux), separated by three weeks wash-out. Participants completed validated mood and sleep questionnaires, psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and wore activity and light monitors (AWL). Rest-activity rhythms were assessed by cosinor, non-parametric circadian rhythm (NPCRA) and actigraphic sleep analysis. Blue-enriched (17000 K) light increased wake time and activity during sleep decreasing actual sleep time, sleep percentage and sleep efficiency (p < 0.05) (actigraphic sleep). Compared to 4000 K lighting, blue-enriched 17000 K lighting significantly (p < 0.05) advanced the timing of participants' rest-activity rhythm (cosinor), increased daytime and night-time activity (NPCRA), reduced subjective anxiety (HADA) and sleep quality (PSQI). There was no difference between the two light conditions in daytime alertness and performance (PVT).

Conclusion: Blue-enriched lighting produced some positive (increased daytime activity, reduced anxiety) and negative (increased night-time activity, reduced sleep efficiency and quality) effects in older people.
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Keywords: Care home; elderly; light therapy; mood; rest-activity; sleep

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2017

This article was made available online on 19 August 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Blue-Enriched Lighting for Older People Living in Care Homes: Effect on Activity, Actigraphic Sleep, Mood and Alertness".

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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