The potential effect that light has on patients’ health and positive outcomes could make this simple act one of great importance.

Around-the-clock care, high acuity of patients, and improved technology have transformed intensive care units (ICUs) into increasingly complex and fast-paced environments where specialized care is provided on a 24-hour basis.1 Although the necessity of around-the-clock care is easily understood, the environment that is created and the resulting potential sleep disruptions are not always optimal for patients’ healing and successful outcomes.2,4 Multi-factorial issues, including noise, lighting, patient care activities, vital signs, phlebotomy, and medication administration have often been identified as potential causes of sleep disruptions in the ICU.5 

In a study4 on nocturnal interruptions of patient care in critical care units, a mean of 42.6 patient care interactions occurred each night, only 9 uninterrupted 2- to 3-hour periods of sleep were documented in...

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