03:36pm Tuesday 19 September 2017

Pulling the covers off senior’s sleeping habits

A QUT researcher is seeking couples over the age of 65 to take part in a sleep survey to study the factors that impact on healthy sleep in older adults.

Alicia Allan, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), said it was a myth that older adults needed less sleep as they age.

“People seem to need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day, even as we get older,” Ms Allan said.

“However, it can become harder to get a good night’s sleep – we know that about half of older adults report having symptoms of insomnia at least a few times a week.

“Older adults tend to have more complicated sleep patterns and more fragile sleep, which can be affected by things like medical conditions and lifestyle changes.”

Ms Allan said bad sleeping habits tended to be associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes.

Ms Allan wants to know how many people experience problems with their sleep, and what this means for their partner or spouse.

“I am hoping to pull the covers off what factors lead to a good night’s sleep in couples,” she said.

Ms Allan is also looking for carers of people with dementia to take part in a separate study.

“Sleep can be a real issue for those with dementia and their carers, and this study hopes to better understand sleep in a home care setting. The results will help in developing interventions that better meet this group’s needs,” she said.

As part of this separate study, participants will be required to wear an activity monitor, log their daily sleep patterns for two weeks and complete a questionnaire.

For more information on both studies visit http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/sleep/

Both studies are funded by The Wesley Research Institute.

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Media contact: Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer (Tue/Wed), 07 3138 9449 or media@qut.edu.au


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