What’s keeping older couples awake at night?

A QUT researcher seeks participants for two studies investigating factors that impact on healthy sleep in older adults. Couples over the age of 65 are wanted for one study. People who are carers for a loved one with dementia, are wanted for the other stud

Above:  QUT sleep researcher, Alicia Allan

A researcher from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is seeking participants for two studies investigating the factors that impact on healthy sleep in older adults.

PhD candidate, Alicia Allan, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), is conducting a number of studies, investigating the factors that impact on healthy sleep in older adults, with a particular focus on the impact that partners have on each other’s sleep. 

For the Sleep in Senior Couples Survey, Ms Allan is seeking couples over the age of 65 to take part in a sleep survey.  The survey asks questions about sleep, health and daily habits, and takes up to an hour to complete.  Both members of the older adult couples will need complete the survey – either online or in hard copy. Participants need to be aged 65 or older; be living at home in the community; have not been diagnosed with sleep apnoea; and not have suspected or diagnosed cognitive impairment.

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

Dementia carers also needed

Ms Allan is also looking for people who provide care at home for a family member with dementia to take part in a separate study.

The Sleep in Carers Study is investigating sleep in people with dementia and their primary carers.  

“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.

Anyone who is the primary carer for someone with dementia and is interested in participating in the research, can read the participant information sheet for some more detailed information about the study.

Both studies are funded by The Wesley Research Institute.

Information relating to both studies can be found via this link to the CARRS-Q website.  To discuss participation in either study, please contact Alicia Allan directly via email at alicia.allan@qut.edu.au; or by phone: 0477 325 479

Tags: alicia-allan, carrs-q, qut, research, sleep,

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