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William F. Connell School of Nursing

How nurses can help patients sleep better

Solid sleeping—and quicker recoveries—ultimately will require hospital-wide awareness and collaboration, said Assistant Professor Lichuan Ye. Before policies are formulated to effect that, nurses can try these strategies to improve patients’ sleep.

  • Enforce “Quiet Time” from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
  • Shoo out visitors at 10:00 p.m. and limit overnight visits.
  • Close the doors to patients’ rooms.
  • Close the shades. Dim the lights, or turn them off and use night-lights.
  • Put cell phones and pagers on vibrate mode.
  • Turn off the TV and encourage patients to turn off cell phones and laptops, or at least use headphones for their neighbors’ sake.
  • Introduce earplugs and eye masks.
  • Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign (or appropriate equivalent) on patients’ doors to minimize unnecessary interactions during quiet time.
  • Respond as quickly as possible to patient alarms