The Role of Wireless Technology in Addressing Sleeping Disorders in Aged Care

The Role of Wireless Technology in Addressing Sleeping Disorders in Aged Care

Clint Moloney (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-101-6.ch412
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Sleep problems are frequently witnessed in aged care facilities with a large proportion going undetected. Multiple factors are known to contribute many abnormal sleep/wake patterns for residents. A systematic review conducted by Haesler (2004) provided a guide to the direction of future research into sleep in older adults residing in care facilities. This chapter evaluates the effectiveness of implementing the following evidence based recommendation from Haesler (2004): Wrist actigraphy currently represents the most accurate objective sleep assessment tool for use in the population of interest. Factor analysis was utilized to study the patterns of relationship among many dependent variables, with the goal of discovering something about the nature of the independent variables that affect them. Wrist actigraphy showed a disparity between the actual bed time and wake time. One clear difference detected using the device was the increased detection of sleep during the day.
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The definition of sleep, among many other things, includes ‘a period of rest for the body and the mind’ (Haesler, 2004). This definition implies that during sleep, bodily functions are temporarily suspended in order to provide rest to limbs and other organs. Other definitions state that sleeping results in ‘a natural occurrence having a psychological and physiological function that activate the restorative repair process of the body’. Both definitions indicate that the human body recovers from various abuses during sleep, but it also appears that the nature and purpose of sleep is not completely established. Theories from previous studies suggest that the primary function of sleep is to restore physical organs of the body and to conserve energy. Adam & Oswald (1984), after examining over 100 studies in this domain established that sleeping is restorative. The main findings include the evidence of protein synthesis and its implication on tissue healing after surgery.

Studies have also established that lack of sleep results in irritation, anger, anxiety, weeping, erratic behavior, impaired cognitive processes, lethargy, reduced motivation and decreased pain tolerance (Adam & Oswald, 1984). This appears to be connected with the ability to perform daily activities.

Prior studies provide details of some form of sleeping patterns. It appears that there are two distinct phases of sleep: non rapid-eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid- eye movement sleep (REM). NREM accounts for about 70% of the sleep and REM the remainder. Due to its regular nature of electrical activity, NREM is also called as synchronous sleep. At this sleep level, minimum mental activity is taking place, tissue renewal appears to be taking place and this sleep is deep. On the other hand REM is active in mental activities such as dreaming and this sleep appears to be impacting the restorative functions of the brain.

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