Bright light treatment improves sleep in institutionalised elderly--an open trial

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2003 Jun;18(6):520-6. doi: 10.1002/gps.852.


Study objectives: This study evaluates the effects of bright light therapy among demented nursing home patients with sleep disturbances.

Design and setting: 11 nursing home patients with actigraphically measured sleep efficiency below 85% took part in an open, non-randomised study where the subjects served as their own control.

Intervention: After two weeks of baseline measurements and two weeks of pretreatment measurements, patients received bright light exposure 2 h/day within the period 08:00-11:00 for two weeks.

Measurements and results: Sleep-wake patterns during the 24-h day were evaluated by nursing staff ratings and wrist-worn motor activity devices (actigraphs). Sleep improved substantially with bright light exposure. Waking time within nocturnal sleep was reduced by nearly two h, and sleep efficiency improved from 73% to 86%. Corresponding improvements were found in nursing staff ratings. Effects were consistent across subjects.

Conclusions: The findings add further evidence of the effectiveness of morning bright light exposure in the treatment of disturbed sleep among demented nursing home patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires