Study: Lack of sleep hurts ICU patients

A new study suggests that the most mundane of healing activities--sleeping well--isn't easy if you're a patient in a hospital intensive care unit. The study, which appears in The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care, reviewed sleep patterns for 16 ICU patients for 24 hours each. The researchers concluded that while ICU patients did average eight hours of sleep per night, little of it was deep or restorative sleep. They found that patient sleep is frequently disrupted by excessive light and noise, a lack of cues as to time of day and interruptions by medical workers for assessment, testing and treatments. To address these issues, researchers suggested that hospitals consider providing private rooms for ICU patients, tailoring ICU routines to maximize sleep, lowering the lights and removing any unnecessary monitoring equipment.

To find out more about the study:
- read this New York Times piece

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