How light therapy can help dementia patients by boosting sleep, easing depression and reducing aggressive behaviour


  • The study suggests exposure to bright light can help by resetting body clocks

Light therapy may boost sleep, ease depression and reduce aggressive behaviour in dementia patients, scientists say.

Their study suggests that exposure to bright light can help by resetting body clocks. The researchers analysed the results of 15 separate studies – two of them from the UK – into 600 Alzheimer’s patients.

The research showed that light therapy, which is used to treat seasonal affective disorder, produced better quality sleep, with less time spent in bed lying awake.

This was when the treatment was compared with dim light and standard medical care. 

Light therapy may boost sleep, ease depression and reduce aggressive behaviour in dementia patients, scientists say (Stock Image)

Their study suggests that exposure to bright light can help by resetting body clocks

Their study suggests that exposure to bright light can help by resetting body clocks

Alzheimer’s patients might need more exposure because nerve damage makes them less light-sensitive and because they may spend less time outdoors. 

The review also found that dementia patients on light therapy had less severe depressive symptoms and were less aggressive.

Sleep disorders affect 70 per cent of people in the early stages of the illness.

The research – by Weifang Medical University in China – was published in PLOS One.

The Alzheimer’s Society warned yesterday that dementia will cost the UK economy £1billion every week by 2025.



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