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Light Can Improve Sleep Quality for Elderly with Alzheimer’s

Disturbances with sleep patterns are frequent occurrences for elderly people living with Alzheimer’s. A reduction in important recuperative sleep can increase moodiness and other symptoms associated with AD, often resulting in daily struggles for both seniors and their Alzheimer’s caregivers in Albuquerque. New research on how specific colors of light affect Alzheimer’s patients, however, may lead to more restful nights.

Red and Blue Light Exposure

In a recent study, groups of seniors with AD were exposed to red and blue light, representing opposite ends of the visible spectrum. After exposure to both types of light, seniors in the study slept better for 2 to 4 hours. The participants were also more alert during the day.

Alternating Light Patterns

A related study tested alternating light patterns on seniors with Alzheimer’s in an attempt to find an effective lighting scheme. Seniors were exposed to white light during the day and blue light in the evening. Results suggest that alternating light patterns are more effective than static exposure to light. A Harvard study found similar results with the use of bright light pulses on participants in the evening.

Relief for Caregivers

Disturbances in sleep patterns can make it difficult for live-in, hourly, or respite caregivers in Albuquerque to monitor medication or encourage senior loved ones to participate in activities and therapy sessions. An irregular biological rhythm may also result in:

• Increased agitation in the late afternoon or early evening (“sundowning”)
• Complete reversal in daytime and nighttime sleep patterns
• Potentially dangerous episodes of wandering at night

The notion that light exposure may correct the body’s normal sleep patterns has been known to scientists for years. The latest research on light and AD patients is based on previous studies showing that some dementia patients benefit from increased daytime light exposure. Prior studies also observed that compensating for lost sleep during the day does not have the same effect as getting a good night’s sleep.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you’re unsure what comes next, don’t hesitate to reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide comprehensive elder care for seniors in Albuquerque, and all of our care services include the use of our Cognitive Therapeutics Method. CTM is an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and preserve mental acuity. Learn more by speaking with a dedicated Care Manager at 505-798-0800.