Effects of a Virtual Reality Exercise Program on Sleep Quality in Assisted Living Residents

Older adults are the largest growing segment of the Canadian population. Almost 40% of men and 59% of women aged 65 to 79 years experience sleep disturbances. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as educational programs and exercise, can improve quality of life of older individuals by enhancing sleep quality. Although strong evidence suggests that virtual reality (VR) programs are effective for improving mood, memory, and cognitive performance, little is known about the effect of VR exercises on sleep quality. This project aims to (i) understand the association between sleep quality, quality of life, cognitive performance, and function capacity in assisted living residents and (ii) quantify the effects of a VR exercise program on the treatment of sleep disorders. Sleep quality, quality of life, cognitive performance, and functional capacity will be assessed before and after a VR exercise program through subjective (questionnaires) and objective (wearable devices) instruments. The expected benefits of this project to the partner organization are the increase in quality of life of assisted living residents and the decrease in operational costs associated with sleep medication and staffing. For instance, a previous study has shown that a non-pharmacological intervention was efficient in decreasing by 29% the costs of sedative prescriptions.

Renata L. Kruger
Faculty Supervisor: 
Marc Poulin
Partner University: