Wake up call – Why older adults can’t sleep

by Laura Falls on 27 Oct 2014

The light levels that older adults are exposed to are too low (even during the day time), due to their mainly indoor lifestyles.

Light exposure is important to regulate sleep and the lack of bright light exposure is becoming a health and well-being issue for many older people. Bright light is the most important external regulator for your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock).

“Daily bright light exposure helps to maintain appropriate timing of the circadian rhythm which is important for maintaining a good nocturnal sleep and effective daytime functioning”, says Professor Leon Lack, a world-renowned sleep psychologist.

As people age, their circadian rhythm can become less synchronised with the day/night cycle, resulting in less consistent sleep-wake periods and in some cases an advanced or early timed body clock. Older adults with an advanced body clock feel tired in the early evening and then wake up in the early hours of the morning.

“Research has found shorter wavelengths of light (blue/green) to be the most effective at resetting the circadian rhythm”, says Professor Lack.

Green light is considered to be a superior treatment in older populations. There have been some concerns about blue light for potential retinal effects with lengthy exposure. Furthermore, our eyes have a lens which becomes cloudy and yellows as we age and this clouding restricts blue light entering the eye.

Re-Timer offers a portable solution for those who do not get enough light. The green light is 100% UV-free and 30 minutes of light therapy can maintain appropriate timing of the circadian rhythm, helping to regulate sleep patterns and provide older adults the light they need.

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