Getting a Better Night’s Sleep During Your Hospital Stay

When most patients are admitted to the hospital, their primary desire is to rest. When you’re sick or injured, it seems natural that sleep is extremely important—and it is. It’s just difficult to come by during a hospital stay.

This information will assist you in getting a better night’s sleep while in the hospital.

A good night’s sleep can help you feel better and give you more energy. It can also aid in the fight against infections and the healing of wounds.

Why Is Sleeping in a Hospital Bed So Difficult?

The nature of a hospital might make sleep particularly difficult. You’re sleeping in a bed that isn’t yours, with a pillow that isn’t yours.

You are welcome to bring your own pillow and blanket, but the truth remains that you will be sleeping in a bed that is not the same as the one you have at home. Because most hospital beds are built for patients to sleep on their backs, stomach sleepers may have more difficulty sleeping.

Hospitals are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. That means that activities take place at all hours of the day and night; hospitals are a very active environment. So if you try to slumber throughout the day, you’ll probably hear voices in the hallway, cleaning workers in your room, or even another patient’s television on high volume because they forgot their hearing aids. Hospitals are a cacophony of sounds. The beeps and chirps of IV pumps, monitors, and other devices can be heard. There are beds strewn over the corridors and elevators.

Then there’s the care you get, which is vital yet will keep you awake at night. Labs are frequently drawn in the middle of the night, so you may find yourself waking up around 3 or 4 a.m. to have blood drawn. If a patient is unstable or has a problem, vital signs may be collected as frequently as every fifteen minutes; hourly vital signs are common in critical care units. Although the patient may be lucky enough to have vital signs taken every 4 to 8 hours if they are stable, this might still create sleep disruptions.

Sleeplessness can also be caused by medications. Even when exhausted, steroids, which are administered to many hospitalised patients, can produce sleeplessness and irritability.

Sleeping Pattern Alterations

While in the hospital, some patients have difficulty sleeping. A variety of factors might cause changes in your sleep pattern. Some instances are as follows:

At night, the lighting in the hospital room may be excessively bright, and during the day, it may be too dim.

It’s possible that treatments and checkups in the middle of the night will keep you awake. It’s possible that your roommate’s medical treatment will keep you awake.

Medication side effects may keep you awake or make you sleepy during the day, making it difficult to fall asleep at night.

Anxiety, pain, difficulty breathing, or a desire to go to the bathroom frequently are all symptoms caused by your cancer or therapy.

Some reasons for waking up in the middle of the night are unavoidable.

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You may be on a medicine, such as antibiotics, that must be given in the middle of the night depending on when the initial dose was given, and blood tests for antibiotic levels must be timed to their dosing, requiring blood draws in the middle of the night as well. If you are admitted to the hospital to be checked for a heart attack, you may be given scheduled blood tests, which may require you to have your blood collected in the middle of the night. For some illnesses, vital signs such as pulse and blood pressure must be monitored every four hours, which would also wake you up.

According to one study, pain is the number one thing that keeps patients awake, followed by vital signs and testing, noise, and drugs. Hospital routines have also been known to affect patient sleep, so having a defined quiet hour, where nonessential chores are minimised and lights and noise are reduced, may be beneficial. Here’s a rundown of some of the things that keep patients awake, as well as what you can do about it.

Pain. Pain is simpler to manage before it becomes unbearable. Even if your pain isn’t severe, don’t be afraid to ask for pain treatment before going to bed.

Your blood pressure is taken while you are awake. Every eight hours, vital signs are routinely taken. These are usually completed between 11 p.m. and midnight, after the night shift begins, but they are frequently completed after you have fallen asleep. Alternatively, the night shift could be taking your vital signs at 6 a.m., when you’d already be awakened for other hospital tasks. It’s vital to highlight this if you’re given the option to provide feedback during or after your stay – hospital officials pay great attention to patient comments.

The constant beeping of the IV pump. This is mainly due to a blockage (occlusion) in the IV fluid flow, which is most commonly caused by the IV being inserted in the crook of your elbow. As a result, the pump will sound an alarm and begin beeping whenever you bend your arm.

If this is the case, request that the IV be placed in an alternative location, like as your hand.

You are awakened in order to receive drugs. When a drug or breathing treatment is recommended “every four hours” or “every six hours,” the nurse or respiratory therapist must wake you up to administer it, even if you are sleeping. You can request that the sequence be adjusted to four times a day instead of six, or “every four hours when awake” so that you are not woken.

Noise. Staff voices, cleaning equipment, and your roommate, if you have one, can all make the hospital noisy late at night. You can always request that your door be closed and that ear plugs be brought in.

You’ve been urinating all night. If this is not the case when you go home, it could be because you were given a diuretic late in the day, about 6 p.m., or you were given IV fluids at a rate that is higher than you actually need. Your nurse has the authority to request that the doctor modify these orders.

Blood transfusions are performed at night. If you require a blood transfusion, it is better to avoid doing so during sleeping hours, as this necessitates the nurse monitoring your vital signs on a regular basis, keeping you awake for hours. If you require a transfusion at that time, inquire as to whether it might be postponed until the next day.

Patients who experience frequent overnight disturbances may feel compelled to snooze throughout the day, causing their sleep cycles to be disrupted. Patients may be weak and fatigued as a result of their underlying condition. It’s critical to maintain your usual sleep schedule and circadian rhythm while in the hospital. Keep the window drapes open for natural light during the day and the room dark during the night. If you must be exposed to light at night, an eye mask may be useful. A favourite blanket, pillow, photographs, and music can all help you unwind and feel more at ease.

Sleeping Suggestions

Bring a pillow and blanket with you. If you have a preference for your bedding or pillow, bringing your own can improve your sleep quality significantly. If you would bring your own pillow to a hotel, bring your own pillow to the hospital. Packing for a pleasant hospital stay can make a significant difference in your enjoyment.

Request medicine to assist you in falling asleep. Some drugs, such as Ambien, aid in falling asleep faster, which can be extremely beneficial. If you use sleep medication at home, inform your healthcare provider so that it can be added to your hospital meds.

Make a request for medication that will assist you in staying asleep. If you’re having difficulties sleeping or can’t get back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, ask for assistance. Unisom and Benadryl, both available over the counter, are frequently used for this reason.

Keep yourself alert during the day and sleep solely at night. Avoid taking naps so that when the time comes, you are ready to sleep through the night. If you’re tired, take a nap; but, too much sleep throughout the day might lead to poor nighttime sleep.

Your room’s door should be shut. Closing the door, unless a patient is in the ICU, is usually not an issue and can significantly reduce noise from the halls and adjacent rooms.

Invest in some earplugs. If closing your door isn’t enough, earplugs can be just the thing to drown out the hospital noise and get some much-needed rest.

Make use of a sleep mask. If the light from the hallway or outside the window is making it difficult to sleep, something to cover your eyes will help.

No guests are allowed late at night or early in the morning. Make sure you don’t have company when you’re attempting to sleep if you have difficulties nodding asleep when you have company. Some people find it easier to sleep with friends and family present, while others find it difficult to do so.

Make use of white noise. If you’re still having trouble with noise, many cellphones now have free white noise apps that can assist mask hospital sounds. Others choose to drown out outside noises with television, music, or even a fan. Most hospitals would gladly give a fan for this purpose, particularly if it means you will feel more rested and well sooner.

Increase or decrease the temperature. When it comes to fans, they can be a terrific way to regulate the temperature in your room. Most modern facilities have individual temperature settings, so you can make sure the temperature is to your comfort. Many hospitals are on the cool side, which benefits patients because it’s quicker to add a blanket or two than it is to be overheated and wait for the room to cool down.

Make sure you’re dressed comfortably. Wear your own comfortable pyjamas instead of the airy hospital gown if the nurse doesn’t object. Not everyone will be allowed to wear their own clothes, but if you are, it is a fantastic way to relax. Just make sure you’re dressed comfortably, such as in pyjamas.
Caffeine should be avoided. If you wouldn’t drink coffee before going to bed at home, avoid caffeine in the 4 to 6 hours leading up to bedtime at the hospital.

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