Study objectives: This study assesses the prevalence and characteristics of sleep disturbances among an entire nursing home population, consisting of 29, mainly demented, long-term patients.
Design and setting: Sleep was evaluated for 14 consecutive days using actigraphic measurements and nursing staff observations. No alterations were made in every-day routines or medications during the observation period.
Measurements and results: Actigraphy showed a mean sleep onset latency of one hour and a mean wake after sleep onset of more than two hours, while there was no findings of early morning awakening. Mean sleep efficiency was 75%, and more than 13 hours were spent in bed. 72% of the subjects had sleep efficiency below 85%. Nursing staff reported sleep onset latency of more than 30 minutes in 158 of the 203 analysed days, while early morning awakening was reported in only 12 of 203 days. Actigraphical measurements and nursing staff observations gave similar results. The validity of actigraphy in this population is discussed.
Conclusion: Sleep disturbances were common among the residents in this nursing home. Sleep onset latency was prolonged, and the patients experienced frequent wake bouts after sleep onset. The diminished ability of sustained sleep may have been influenced by the prolonged time in bed.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.