Biodynamic lighting effects on the sleep pattern of people with dementia

E. van Lieshout-van Dal*, L. Snaphaan, I. Bongers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Dementia can disturb the circadian rhythm more than in normal ageing people. And their biological clock is often not enough stimulated by light. Sleep disturbances form a high burden for informal caregivers and is the main reason for institutionalization. The effect of biodynamic lighting with varying intensity and colour resembling a daylight curve has hardly been objectively researched. In this study, we evaluate the exposure to biodynamic lighting on circadian functioning of 13 patients with dementia admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Three biodynamic lighting armatures designed for home use were placed in the common area for a period of three weeks and then removed for the same period. These periods were intermittent in an AB-phase design. Objective data of the sleeping pattern were collected using a bed sensor. During exposure the average frequency of night-time bed wandering significantly decreased from 11 to 5 times (P = 0.002). The average frequency of daytime napping significantly decreased from 16 to 7 times (P = 0.004). The average total night-time sleep significantly increased from 408 to 495 min (P = 0.007). The average total time out of bed at night significantly decreased from 180 to 104 min (P = 0.006). This pilot study found promising evidence (effect sizes >0.5) that biodynamic lighting, tailored to stimulate circadian entrainment, could be helpful in decreasing sleeping disturbances in patients with dementia. This biodynamic lighting setup could easily be used as a non-pharmacological intervention in a home situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Biodynamic light
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Dementia
  • MOOD
  • Sleep disorders


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