Centre for Health Services Studies

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Two thirds of people with dementia have problems with sleep and this can negatively affect their health. The hormone Melatonin is released from the brain in dim light, causing sleep. Bright light inhibits melatonin release and helps us stay awake.

Without sufficient exposure to light, people may naturally sleep at different times of the day. Those with dementia often find it difficult to get outside and may not be exposed to enough light. Using a bright light box may help people with dementia to stay awake during the day and improve their sleep during the night. Results from previous studies have been mixed, but may be unreliable.

Funded by a grant from the University of Kent Faculty of Social Sciences, the researchers will conduct a small pilot of a study to test if a light box used during the day helps people with dementia sleep better at night. Working with Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust, the team will identify participants and run the pilot in spring of 2016. The pilot results will help to establish whether a full trial can be undertaken.

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      Last Updated: 21/12/2015