Background and Main Objectives


Good sleep in later life reduces risk of falls and depression, is essential for maintaining activity and performance levels, and reduces challenging behaviour encountered in dementia sufferers. This Collaborative Research Project (CRP) addresses practice and policy relevant issues arising from the nature, impact and management of the sleep-wake balance in later life. It will extend and 'join up' strategically targeted areas of sleep research relevant to understanding and improving autonomy, active ageing, and quality of later life. This CRP will produce new knowledge, processes and products with major implications for improving sleep and hence quality of life for older individuals in both the community and care homes.


The CRP will produce new products and outcomes relevant to policy and practice through the following inter-linked aims:

(i) Descriptive studies to better understand the sociological and biomedical causes of poor sleep, linked to activity levels, light exposure and medication use among older people in the community and care homes.

(ii) Analyses of existing social surveys, which have asked questions on sleep, and general practitioner databases on prescribing for sleep problems.

(iii) Development and evaluation of an Expert Patient supported self-management programme for older patients with insomnia and chronic disease.

(iv) Intervention studies focused on optimising the light/dark environment to improve sleep of older people in the community and care homes

(v) Development and evaluation of novel sensor-based devices to improve the sleep of frail older people and their carers living in the community, and of residents in care homes.

(vi) Preparation of a sleep education module for the Healthtalkonline (formerly DIPEx) website.