Bright Lights, Big Changes! Light Therapy for Better Sleep

Counting sheep, drinking herbal tea, reading a book – nearly everyone has a bedtime routine that helps them fall into a restful sleep. Your loved one may have had a routine, but it’s possible it’s not working the same way it used to. If you’re noticing that your loved one doesn’t seem to be getting the sleep they need, you may wonder about different methods that can help promote a more restful sleep. Light therapy could possibly help. 

“Looking for natural ways to aid the sleeping process allows you to find what works and doesn’t put additional stress on your body,” says Lesley Vestrich, Community Outreach Director of YourLife™ of Stuart, which specializes in memory care services. “Introducing light therapy into your loved one’s routine may be beneficial to their sleep cycle.” 

In this blog, we’ll go over the factors that can prevent seniors from sleeping and how light therapy is a possible avenue to explore for your loved one. 

 

What Can Prevent Seniors from Getting Restful Sleep?

Schedules and sleep patterns can naturally change over time. There are also factors that are more likely to affect seniors and their ability to get the sleep they need. A few of those factors include: 

  • Health Conditions. Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other health conditions can cause seniors to wake up during the night. 
  • Night Disruptions. Sleep apnea, feeling restless, or pain can prevent seniors from falling or staying asleep
  • Sleeping During the Day. Seniors may take naps during the day. If they are asleep for most of the day, they may not be able to stay asleep during the night. Those with Alzheimer’s may experience sundowning, where the individual becomes more restless in the evening and at night. 

It’s important to identify the issues that your loved one is dealing with and how to counteract them. You may find that light therapy is a possible option – let’s find out more about it. 

 

How Does Light Therapy Benefit Seniors? 

When seniors undergo light therapy, the light helps to regulate their circadian rhythms, which control when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Seniors may not get this light from other sources throughout their day due to their health – but now they can receive light therapy in the comfort of their own home. 

Light therapy is a relatively low-stress process. The person is sitting near the light for about a half-hour. It’s important to not look directly into the light—but this means that chatting with your loved one for a half-hour while the light is on will still provide them with therapeutic benefits. 

Therapy sessions can be a time for activities where you’re in one place. Visiting, looking at photographs, doing a puzzle or creating a craft – find what activities your loved one enjoys to make this time meaningful and something they can look forward to.
 

Connect with YourLife™ of Stuart Memory Care 

At YourLife™ of Stuart, we’re always seeking to provide our residents with the best care possible. Each resident has a unique health plan tailored to meet their needs and to promote a high quality and engaging life. To learn more, reach out to us today.