We all know that hospitals, especially intensive care units, are not always conducive to a good night’s sleep. Patients who experience minimal sleep or many sleep disruptions have a higher risk of delirium developing and of delays in healing. As nurses, we can easily identify the environmental factors that interrupt sleep, including noise, lights, frequent activity, technology (including alarms!), and routine nursing assessments; we also know that some of these factors are hard to control. However, the research reported in this issue of the journal demonstrates how our perceptions of patients’ sleep differ from the perceptions of both patients and surrogates. Options exist, beyond noise reduction or pharmacological sleep aids, for individualized patient care that promotes restorative sleep and improves patients’ outcomes.
Address sleep on daily interprofessional rounds.
Consider psychosocial factors that may affect sleep.
Reassure patients that they are being watched and...