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For Hospitalized Adults, Light Inversely Tied to Fatigue, Mood

Pain level positively associated with fatigue, but not directly linked to light exposure

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- For hospitalized adult patients, light exposure is inversely associated with fatigue and total mood disturbance, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Esther I. Bernhofer, Ph.D., R.N., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues conducted a descriptive correlation study to describe light exposure, sleep-wake patterns, mood, pain, and their relationship in adult medical inpatients. Data were collected from May 2011 to April 2012 from a convenience sample of 23 women and 17 men admitted to a large academically-affiliated U.S. hospital.

The researchers found that light exposure levels were low and that sleep time was fragmented and low. There was little sleep-wake synchronization with light based on intra-daily stability scores. Scores were high for fatigue and total mood disturbance, and they were inversely correlated with light. Pain levels were also high and correlated with fatigue, but no direct correlation was observed with light exposure. Fatigue and total mood disturbance were significantly predicted by low light exposure.

"Higher light exposure was associated with less fatigue and lower total mood disturbance in participants with pain, suggesting the need for further investigation to determine if manipulating light exposure for medical inpatients would be beneficial in affecting sleep-wake disturbances, mood, and pain," the authors write.

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