UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Light in the Senior Home: Effects of Dynamic and Individual Light Exposure on Sleep, Cognition, and Well-Being Juda, Myriam; Liu-Ambrose, Teresa; Feldman, Fabio; Suvagau, Cristian; Mistlberger, Ralph E.


Disrupted sleep is common among nursing home patients and is associated with cognitive decline and reduced well-being. Sleep disruptions may in part be a result of insufficient daytime light exposure. This pilot study examined the effects of dynamic “circadian” lighting and individual light exposure on sleep, cognitive performance, and well-being in a sample of 14 senior home residents. The study was conducted as a within-subject study design over five weeks of circadian lighting and five weeks of conventional lighting, in a counterbalanced order. Participants wore wrist accelerometers to track rest–activity and light profiles and completed cognitive batteries (National Institute of Health (NIH) toolbox) and questionnaires (depression, fatigue, sleep quality, lighting appraisal) in each condition. We found no significant differences in outcome variables between the two lighting conditions. Individual differences in overall (indoors and outdoors) light exposure levels varied greatly between participants but did not differ between lighting conditions, except at night (22:00–6:00), with maximum light exposure being greater in the conventional lighting condition. Pooled data from both conditions showed that participants with higher overall morning light exposure (6:00–12:00) had less fragmented and more stable rest–activity rhythms with higher relative amplitude. Rest–activity rhythm fragmentation and long sleep duration both uniquely predicted lower cognitive performance.

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