Spending time in hospital is never going to be a stress-free experience and, for some, this can be a regular occurrence. Whether a patient has been admitted for a short stay or for a longer stretch, getting enough rest is often considered to be a vital part of healing. But how easily do patients sleep in hospital, and what factors can impact this? We take a closer look at how sleep can be affected in hospital, and how this can be improved.
How easily do patients sleep in hospital?
While this might seem like an easy question to answer, the truth is that there are many considerations that play into how well a patient may or may not sleep - including the reason they are in hospital in the first place. Certain illnesses cause sleep issues, which can be exacerbated in a hospital setting. It is also worth noting that a hospital is an unfamiliar environment to many, which might cause difficulties immediately. However, with many patients in various different hospital settings reporting sleep disturbances, it is worth investigating exactly what is causing this.
A disrupted routine
Typically, when someone is in hospital, their usual sleeping pattern has been interrupted. Because a patient is healing, they may be encouraged to sleep more than normal, as poor sleep has been linked to slower healing times. This has resulted in some concluding that patients, where possible, should be resting at home.
In hospital environments, all routine is disrupted, and patients who sleep more during the day might find it challenging to get high-quality REM sleep at night. It may even be necessary for health workers to wake up patients to administer medication throughout the night.
Unsuitable bed setup
While some patients are perfectly restful in hospital beds, the suitability of bed setup can be a contributing factor in low-quality sleep. A bed that is not sturdy enough for a patient may cause additional pain, especially in areas that are already vulnerable. The uniformity offered by hospital beds doesn’t suit every body type or illness/injury, and this should be taken into account in those who seem unable to rest.
Check-ups and other interruptions
One of the main contributing factors to patients experiencing low-quality sleep in hospitals is the steady flow of noise, bright lighting, and even check-ups from medical staff. While these check-ups are necessary, they can interrupt the sleep of a patient and leave them unable to rest afterwards.
Meanwhile, the ongoing noise of other patients in surrounding beds, or even simply out in the hospital hallway, can leave patients too stimulated to sleep, or only managing to sleep in small bursts which don’t provide enough rest.
Medications and symptoms
Some medications can also cause sleeping problems in patients, making them sleep during the daytime and wake up in the evening, throwing off their natural rhythms. Similarly, patients who are in hospital report high levels of anxiety, which can disturb sleep. Even a side effect as simple as needing to use the bathroom multiple times during the night can have a profound impact on patient rest and, as a result, overall healing.
The importance of a patient’s bed
So, how easily do patients sleep in hospital? From what can be told from studies, it can be all too easy for patients to suffer from low-quality sleep, and even leave hospital more tired than when they were admitted. However, there are steps that can be taken to ease these issues - beginning with the bed itself.
For those who are frequently in hospital, then making sure that their hospital beds/mattresses are appropriate is essential. This includes checking that their bed is the correct size and sturdiness for their frame, and that it isn’t exacerbating any pre-existing injuries and medical conditions.
Creating a routine
It can be extremely challenging to adhere to a regular routine as an inpatient, but it isn’t impossible. Trying to sleep during the night and stay awake during the day can be extremely beneficial when keeping up a regular sleeping pattern, and this can be achieved by keeping the lighting bright enough during the day and low enough during the night.
This may not always be up to the individual patient, but it is something that healthcare providers can be aware of when performing checks during the day and night. Simple steps like this, and reducing the amount of ambient noise in the room, can make a big difference in how patients sleep.
Where possible, a patient should not necessarily be napping excessively during the day, and instead should be encouraged to engage and have some daytime activity - mental and physical. Even if this is not achievable for a specific patient, it can help to align medications in a way that encourages sleep.
How Reinforced Beds can help
Sleeping in hospital does not always come easily. While paying attention to things like lighting, machinery, and the effects of medication can be very beneficial in managing the sleep of patients in hospital, one of the most important factors is their bed. A bed which is not supportive enough, or built to accommodate a patient, can create problems with sleep and healing - and this is where Reinforced Beds can help. We have a range of options for care homes, hospitals and more when it comes to heavy-duty beds that are comfortable and reliable.
Thanks to our trade prices and free delivery, you can find the beds and furniture that will help contribute to restful sleep. Ideal for both commercial and private use, our beds are designed with performance and comfort in mind. View our full range, or get in touch to discuss which beds might be right for you.