The Rhythm of the Unit Is the Pace of Life: A Study of Everyday Activities and Sleep in Swedish Residential Care


Social and physical activities can improve sleep in older people. However, living in a residential care facility has been associated with a limited potential for activities and increased inactivity, reflected in poor sleep among residents. In turn, poor sleep can impair physical and mental functions. This paper explores sleep habits and everyday activities at three residential care facilities and investigates the link between sleep habits and everyday activities from the perspective of the residents. Data were collected through observations of daily life and interviews with residents. The results showed that fixed times during the day reduced daytime sleep and motivated them to go to the day room, thus enabling social interaction. More impaired residents spent more time in the day room napping or being less active. The residents stated that going outdoors was a desired activity, thought to improve sleep. However, the activity did not occur to the extent the residents wished for. Maintaining mobility and influence over daily activities together with regularity seemed to improve sleep. Awareness among staff of the need for stimulating and enriching activities, as well as access to bright light is requisite. Specific consideration should be given to residents who have difficulties communicating their wishes and/or impaired mobility.

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Hellström, A. , Condelius, A. , Willman, A. and Fagerström, C. (2015) The Rhythm of the Unit Is the Pace of Life: A Study of Everyday Activities and Sleep in Swedish Residential Care. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 697-706. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2015.58073.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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