Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Need sleep? Forget the hospital


Anyone who has been admitted to the hospital or whose family member has been admitted to the hospital or works in the hospital knows this fact - The hospital is the worst place to get some sleep - Even though I "prescribe" adequate sleep to everyone who comes into my clinic.

Well, now, there is research that was just released which supports this. According to this article from Reuters, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern found that the healing process may be interrupted because of inadequate sleep (restorative sleep) in the hospital.
[Dr. Randall Friese, lead researcher] monitored the sleep patterns of 16 patients in the ICU who had suffered traumatic injuries or had abdominal surgery. Although it appeared the patients were getting enough sleep, Friese said their brain wave patterns showed their sleep was fragmented and superficial.

"There are two major things contributing to abnormal sleep in these patients -- the pathophysiology of the disease process itself and the stressful environment of the ICU," Friese said. "If we can neutralize the stressful environment, maybe we can shorten the hospital stay, lower infection risks and increase patient wound healing."
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying totally ignore the intensive care patient while in the hospital. But, there may be something to this sleep/healing connection. And, if there is some way to increase restorative sleep and accelerate healing and shorten the hospital stay, I'm all for looking into it more. I know our patients would appreciate this.

10 comments:

rlbates said...

I've always felt this way. I often tell patients that "you'll sleep better at home" as a way to get them out of the hospital or to justify the "out-patient" procedure. I know I always feel better with sleep than without.

~M.E. said...

When my mom was hospitalized in October - for 14 days - about day three she was crazy with no sleep. I bought her a pair of Bose noise reducing headphones (to hook up to relaxing white noise and her fav music) and bribed them to let her have a pillow and blanket from home. It helped, but you're right - when she was released she slept for almost two days straight.

Cathy said...

You are so right with this. When I have been hospitalized I got almost zero sleep. They wake you all hours to take vitals and at 4 AM every morning to draw blood, not to mention all the nurses in and out of your room all night long. When I had knee replacement it was the worst of all, because my OS had ordered that darn CPM machine for 12 hrs out of every 24 with 1 hr on and 1 hr off, so I was awake all the time having that machine put on or taken off. 5 days of this and I needed to be released home just so I could sleep.

They dont do this so much anymore, but back 30 plus years ago when I was having the kids, we had to stay for 3-4 days in the hospital following childbirth. They use to come in and wake me up to ask me if I needed a sleeping pill. Where is the sense in that?

Awesome Mom said...

I would chase off the night nurses sometimes just so Evan could get some uninterrupted sleep. They would want to weigh him at 4 am! I hope that they come out with better regulations to help patients sleep.

Bond said...

Hospital? Sleep? You are allowed to use those two words in the same sentence?

hummmmmmmmmmmmmm

Kb said...

Well and they have the beds that won't stop inflating and deflating. Not to mention the "fold out" chairs for guests. Sleep is elusive in the hospital unless you get the "good stuff".

Mimi Lenox said...

Oh, this is soooooo true. Do Not Disturb signs?

SeaSpray said...

After being awake all nite in the ER this past August...i was finally admitted to the floor at 04:30. The covering doc ordered the wrong pain med and so I didn't get that until around 10 am. The nurse finished with me by 05:45 or so. (I think they were really busy or short staffed hence busy) There was a woman a couple doors down that kept screaming every three seconds...non stop and there was a man in the next room that periodically would shout helloooooo? like he was asking for help. My room mate was beginning to stir. By the time 7:30 rolled around I had been awake 24 hours, was exhausted in pain and stressed. I was NPO and hadn't eaten at that point for 33 1/2 hours. I asked the nurse on the day shift if I could please have a sleeping pill because I really needed to sleep and she said that they wouldn't give me a sleeping pill because it would disrupt my sleep pattern. Hahahahaha - at that moment I think I knew how Richard Dreyfus felt in what about Bob!

Dorothy was right...there's no place like home and if I had a pair of Ruby slippers...I would have put them on and clicked 3 times...There's no place like home, there's no place like home...There's no place like home. :)

Anonymous said...

I just got out of UT Southwestern St. Paul hospital in Dallas after 8 days there for pneumonia. Each night at 11 pm they took my vitals. At 3:15 a.m. someone walked in, flipped on the lights, and took my blood. Within an hour another person was in for new vitals. Within another hour someone came in to do a finger stick to check my glucose level. It was a nightmare and I was not even in ICU.

Shannon said...

I've had 3 c-sections and I felt so much better at home than in the hospital.

It's tough getting some sleep when nurses are coming in at all hours of the night to take my blood pressure.