A study published on 7th May 2010 in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, showed that 65 percent of residents living in Assisted Living Facilities in Los Angeles had sleeping problems, and these sleeping problems were associated with a decline in quality of life and increased depression.
Assisted Living Facilities are increasingly used by older members of the population who are not able to live completely independently but are not at the stage where they require regular nursing care and assistance at home.
The type of assistance offered by assisted living facilities varies considerably but might typically includes meals which could be eaten together, help with housekeeping and some personal care assistance.
This recent study was carried out by The University of California and Great Los Angeles Healthcare System and was led by Dr Jennifer Martin of the University of California.
Dr Martin and her colleagues looked at the sleeping habits of 121 older Assisted Living Facilities residents in and around the Los Angeles area and found that the average number of sleeping hours these residents had a night was 6 with an additional one and half hours sleep throughout the day.
Of these 121 residents, almost three quarters of them had lived in an Assisted Living Facility for two years or less and 65 percent of them were suffering from sleep disturbance with the most common problems being waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and being unable to fall asleep within half an hour.
At the beginning of the study the researchers noted that poor sleep was associated with a reduced quality of life and needing more help on a daily basis along with an increase in the symptoms of depression.
When the researchers conducted further investigation three months and six months later, those who were identified as having sleeping problems from the outset needed even more help with daily activities, had a further increase in depression symptoms and a greater reduction in their quality of life.
“We cannot conclude that poor sleep truly causes these negative changes; however, future studies should evaluate ways to improve sleep in ALFs to see if sleeping better might improve quality of life, delay functional decline and reduce risk of depression” said Dr Martin in a news release.Learn how I beat Depression