A new study shows that exposure to tailored light treatment during daytime hours for four weeks significantly increased sleep quality and duration. It also reduced depression and agitation.
“It is a simple, inexpensive, non-pharmacological treatment to improve sleep and behavior in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients,” said Dr Mariana Figueiro, Light and Health program director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
“The improvements we saw in agitation and depression were very impressive.”
The pilot study involved 14 nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
A light source producing low levels of a bluish-white light with specific colouring a was installed in the residents’ rooms.
Light exposure occurred during daytime hours for a period of four weeks.
Nurses looking after the patients found they were “calmer, eating better and their overall behavior was more manageable,” said Dr Figueiro
The research was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep.