Need sleep? Forget the hospital

Anyone who has been admitted to the hospital or whose family member has been admitted to the hospital or works in the hospital knows this fact - The hospital is the worst place to get some sleep - Even though I "prescribe" adequate sleep to everyone who comes into my clinic.

Well, now, there is research that was just released which supports this. According to this article from Reuters, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern found that the healing process may be interrupted because of inadequate sleep (restorative sleep) in the hospital.

[Dr. Randall Friese, lead researcher] monitored the sleep patterns of 16 patients in the ICU who had suffered traumatic injuries or had abdominal surgery. Although it appeared the patients were getting enough sleep, Friese said their brain wave patterns showed their sleep was fragmented and superficial.

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

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying totally ignore the intensive care patient while in the hospital. But, there may be something to this sleep/healing connection. And, if there is some way to increase restorative sleep and accelerate healing and shorten the hospital stay, I'm all for looking into it more. I know our patients would appreciate this.