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Physicians seek to improve the quality of sleep in ICU, researchers at UT Southwestern report
Date:12/9/2007

ent of their sleep cycle in superficial stages, compared to normal sleep, in which up to 50 percent is spent in the restorative stages.

The next step, Dr. Friese said, is to design a clinical trial that makes the ICU environment more conducive to sleep and then monitor the patients outcomes. Some proposed steps to decrease disturbances in the ICU include adjusting monitoring machines so that alarms dont wake up sleeping patients, providing patients ear plugs and eye shields, dimming the lights, and using pharmacological sleeping aids.

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, Dr. Friese said. If we can neutralize the stressful environment, maybe we can shorten the hospital stay, lower infection risks and increase patient wound healing.

Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, professor of neurology and one of the studys authors, said the investigation demonstrated that surgical patients in the ICU have essentially no restorative sleep.

Restorative sleep is most abundant during the later part of sleep it is sometime between 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. that the bulk of this stage of sleep occurs. It is likely that with some straightforward measures, such as changing the schedule of nursing intervention, we may help these patients attain the restorative sleep that could improve their outcomes.


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Contact: Connie Piloto
connie.piloto@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center  
Source:Eurekalert

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