Relationship of daily time spent outdoors with sleep quality and emotional well-being among community-dwelling older adults during covid-19 restrictions

Şansal K. E., Balci L. A., Çinar F., Çoşkunsu D. K., Tanriöver S. H., Uluengin M. B.

Turk Geriatri Dergisi, vol.24, no.3, pp.424-432, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.31086/tjgeri.2021.240
  • Journal Name: Turk Geriatri Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EMBASE, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.424-432
  • Keywords: Aged, COVID-19, Emotions, Photoperiod, Sleep, Social isolation
  • TED University Affiliated: No


Introduction: Given the recent constraints imposed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of the daily light-dark cycle for entraining the human circadian system, it is possible to state that the elderly are likely to be at serious risk of experiencing sleep-related problems. Whilst reduced or limited time outdoors, and thus, exposure to diurnal bright light appear to be detrimental to sleep and emotional well-being in old age, further research is required to confirm this relationship. Materials and Method: To build on earlier work, a two-week study was conducted in a sample of 79 community-dwelling older adults recruited by using snowball sampling method. Throughout the study, the participants were allowed to be outdoors from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on weekdays. Whilst the participants were performing their daily habitual activities, they were asked to keep an activity diary and report on their sleep quality and emotional wellbeing using two questionnaires. Results: The results demonstrated that participants’ daily time spent outdoors (49.13 minutes on average) positively correlated with their perceived sleep quality and emotional well-being at various –– but significant –– levels (p<0.05). Moreover, significant negative correlations were identified between participants’ sleep quality and experienced emotional disturbances (p<0.001). Conclusion: Based on the research findings, it is reasonable to conclude that spending momentary periods outdoors may have adverse consequences for the elderly. To maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle and alleviate related emotional problems in old age, increasing outdoor time and diurnal bright light exposure should be encouraged.