Sensory Stimulation for Nursing-Home Residents: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Its Effects on Sleep Quality and Rest-Activity Rhythm in Dementia

Angela Prins*, Erik Scherder, Annemieke van Straten, Yvonne Zwaagstra, Maarten Milders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Disrupted sleep-wake cycles might be associated with an exacerbation of behavioural disturbances and accelerate disease progression in dementia. The effect of sensory stimulation for improving sleep quality is unclear. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed and all studies examining the effects of a sensory stimulation intervention (i.e. bright light, massage, acupuncture, animal-assisted interventions) on rest-activity rhythm (RAR) and/or nocturnal restlessness in nursing-home residents with dementia were included. Results: Sensory stimulation was shown to improve nocturnal behavioural restlessness as well as sleep duration and continuation, but the effect on the number of awakenings, RAR, and daytime sleep was negligible. Notable was the high heterogeneity between studies regarding treatments and patients' characteristics and sleep parameters. Conclusion: Sleep quality and nocturnal restlessness in nursing-home residents with dementia may benefit from sensory stimulation. An environment with sensory stimulation may prevent or improve sleep disturbances in nursing homes, and thereby contribute to a better quality of life for their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-234
Number of pages16
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Volume49
Issue number3
Early online date11 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Sensory stimulation
  • Multi-sensory environments
  • Sleep Efficiency
  • Rest-activity rhythm
  • circadian rhythm

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