Slumber aids could improve intensive care outcomes

Apr 15, 2010

Eye masks and earplugs could help hospital patients get a better night's sleep. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care investigated their effect on sleep quality in a simulated intensive care environment.

Xiaoying Jiang from Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the study in 14 healthy people exposed to recorded intensive care noise and equivalent light levels. She said, "Sleep disruption is common in patients and has been associated with impaired , decreased inspiratory muscle endurance, extended , delirium and severe morbidity".

The researchers measured sleep quality over four nights; one to get used to the new environment and one 'baseline' night, followed by two nights exposed to noise and light, one with eye masks and ear plugs and one without. To minimize any effects of ordering, the last two nights were randomized.

According to Jiang, "The earplugs and eye masks were applied easily and remained in place and intact throughout the nights they were used. Use of plugs and masks resulted in more REM sleep, shorter REM latency and fewer arousals. Subjective measures of sleep quality were also significantly improved, and participants reported much less awareness of their surroundings when they were worn".

Jiang concludes, "This study provides a reasonable basis for promoting the routine use of earplugs and eye masks for intensive care patients. Future studies should be designed to determine if this ultimately improves clinical outcomes".

Explore further: Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects (Update)

More information: Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment, Rong-fang Hu, Xiao-ying Jiang, Yi-ming Zeng, Xiao-yang Chen and You-hua Zhang, Critical Care (in press), ccforum.com/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.