Patient Perception of Sleep Quality and Etiology of Sleep Disruption in the Intensive Care Unit


Freedman N. S., Kotzer N. and  Schwab R. J.



AM J RESPIR CRIT CARE MED 1999;159:1155–1162



The etiology of sleep disruption in intensive care units (ICUs) patients  is poorly understood, but is thought to be related to environmental stimuli, especially noise. We sampled 203 patients (121 males and 82 females) from different ICUs (cardiac [CCU], cardiac stepdown [CICU], medical [MICU], and surgical [SICU]) using a questionnaire on the day of their discharge from the unit, to determine the perceived effect of environmental stimuli on sleep disturbances in the ICU. Perceived ICU sleep quality was significantly poorer than baseline sleep at home (p= 0.0001). Perceived sleep quality and daytime sleepiness did not change neither over the course of the patients’ stays in the ICU, nor were there any significant differences (P>0.05) in these parameters among respective units. Disruption from human interventions and diagnostic testing were perceived to be as disruptive to sleep as was environmental noise. In general, patients in the MICU appeared to be more susceptible to sleep disruptions from environmental factors than patients in the other ICUs. Our data show that: (1) poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness are common problems to all types of ICUs and affect a broad spectrum of patients; (2) the environmental etiologies of sleep disruption in the ICU are multifactorial.



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