Sleep is crucial for the recovery and well-being of critical care patients. Unfortunately, ICU patients often experience sleep disturbances due to a combination of factors, including their own condition and the ICU environment.
Studies have shown that up to 38% of medical and surgical ICU patients have difficulty falling asleep, and 61% report higher-than-normal sleep needs. Cancer ICU patients are even more likely to suffer from moderate to severe sleep disorders, with sleep deprivation being one of the most stressful factors during their ICU stay. Even months after hospital discharge, many patients continue to experience altered sleep patterns compared to before their hospitalization.
Various risk factors contribute to sleep disorders in critically ill patients, including acute neurological and psychiatric conditions, pain, poor hygiene, and stress. The ICU environment, with its constant noise from alarms, monitors, and ventilators, as well as bright lights from monitors and ambient lighting, can also significantly affect the quality and quantity of sleep.
Inadequate sleep can exacerbate symptoms and increase physical and emotional distress in critical care patients. Therefore, it is essential to assess and intervene to minimize the negative consequences of sleep disorders in these patients.
To improve sleep quality, it is important to implement measures that address the environmental factors that can disturb patients’ sleep, such as reducing noise levels and dimming lights. By doing so, we can improve the well-being and recovery of critical care patients.