Environmental Factors

The individual prerequisites for a good night's sleep include a number of factors, such as a comfortable bed, fresh air in the bedroom, and a room that is not too cold


Good sleep Poor sleep Good sleep Poor sleep

Figure 71.2 Affirmative answers (%) to the statement ''I am often sleepy in the daytime'' in relation to sex, age, and nocturnal sleep. Age (years): <70 (white bars); 70-79 (dotted bars); >80 (grey bars) (Asplund, 1996).

and not too hot. A sleep partner also seems to be favorable for sleep. People with a preexisting psychological or psychiatric condition may be more susceptible to the effects of noise, and women are more sensitive to noise than men (Nivison and Endresen, 1993).

Noise is a factor with a great impact on sleep. In a study of adult men and women exposed to road traffic noise during nine nights over a period of two weeks, poorer sleep quality, performance, and mood, and greater tiredness both in the morning and during the day were reported. No habituation of these effects was observed (Ohrstrom, 2000). Further, in a study of sleep in a residential area of Gothenburg, before and after the opening of a new tunnel for road traffic resulting in reduction of the road traffic from about 25,000 to 2,400 vehicles per 24 hours and from 1,375 to 180 vehicles per night (22-06), the previous adverse effects on sleep were substantially reduced and sleep quality was significantly improved after this extensive noise reduction in residents living near the road (25-67 meters). The subjective sleep improvement experienced by these residents was more pronounced than in those living in a control area (125-405 meters from the road). The improvement was recorded in all four sleep quality measures: ''difficulty in falling asleep,'' ''awakenings,'' ''sleep quality,'' and ''tiredness in the morning'' (see Figure 71.3) (Ohrstrom, 2004).

Sleep disturbances are particularly common in nursing homes. Nursing routines need to be performed at all hours and a certain amount of noise and light at night cannot be avoided. Sleep is also deteriorated by large amounts of time spent in bed during the daytime and consequent inability to sleep at night. Some patients have a poorly functioning sleep/wake rhythm, resulting in daytime sleep and also night wandering, which disturbs other residents. The little access to outdoor activities, for medical and nursing-related reasons, may partly explain the increased occurrence of sleep complaints among elderly people living in nursing homes. The rhythmic change of light during the 24-hour period, which plays an important role in the sleep-wake timing, is difficult to maintain. Bright light in the daytime has proven effective in the treatment of sleep maintenance insomnia in the elderly (Hajak et al, 1995).

Many healthy elderly people try to compensate for disruption of the sleep/wake rhythm by increasing the regularity of their lifestyle, which is probably beneficial not only for their sleep but also for their health in general (Reynolds et al., 1991; Monk et al., 1997). Lifestyle intervention is also desirable for improvement of sleep in the nursing home setting (Alessi et al., 2000).

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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