Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet S. Jedlicka


aged, older adult, insomnia, sleep initiation and maintenance disorders, resource manual


The purpose of this scholarly project is to provide a resource manual for elderly individuals, and those providing care to elderly people, to assist the individual in relieving symptoms of insomnia. Insomnia affects elderly individuals worldwide. Studies document that approximately 50% of individuals in the United States over the age of 65 are noted to have either clinically diagnosed or self-diagnosed insomnia (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2007). As the population worldwide continues to age, it is important that occupational therapists, elderly individuals, family members and care providers be aware of the impact that symptoms of insomnia may have on an individual. Occupational therapists can take a proactive role that is within their scope of practice, to assist clients in achieving a restful nights sleep, and improving in abilities to function during daily tasks and routines while also preventing injury.

Evidence obtained through a comprehensive literature review confirms that symptoms of insomnia can have a negative impact on an individual’s participation and mastery in meaningful occupational tasks of daily living. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation often leads to several negative side effects such as “depression, heart disease, hypertension, irritability, slower reaction times” or an overall decreased ability to function the next day (Sleep Deprivation, 2010, para. 4). Other symptoms may include: trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, and during wakefulness: reduced awareness and focus, trouble with memory, decreased or weakened motor organization leading to clumsiness, irritability, offensive social communication or conduct, or motor vehicle accidents secondary to exhaustion and sleep deprivation (American Sleep Association, 2010; WebMD, 2010).

The product of the scholarly project is a resource manual created to increase client, family and caregiver awareness about insomnia, accompanying symptoms, and holistic treatment ideas to increase sleep hygiene and participation in daily living tasks. Within the guide, several different aspects of insomnia are broken down, including some of the negative side effects that may occur with sleep loss. The manual also provides holistic ways in which to treat side effects, including consulting with a doctor, as well as becoming a self-directed and motivated learner in improving ones overall quality of life through participation in meaningful occupations of daily living.