The founders of nursing acknowledged the need for sleep and rest to aid the body in healing, but with 60% of patients requesting a sedative, this shows the hospital environment is not one that promotes sleep and rest. There is renewed interest in exploring the best nonpharmacological methods of helping achieve sleep and rest while in the hospital to promote healing (Robinson, Weitzel, & Henderson, 2005).
As nurses frequently interact with the patients, they are the ones exploring evidence-based practice to identify ways to modify the hospital environment and use more nonpharmacological methods to promote sleep to help the body repair itself (Robinson et al., 2005). Florence Nightingale noted patients require proper nutrition, sleep, quiet, and “unnecessary noise harms the patient” (Robinson et al., 2005, p. 263). Nurses have identified many ways to help patients get rest, including relaxation techniques, music, warm blankets, warm drinks, massage, and aromatherapy (Robinson et al., 2005).
There are still many barriers interfering with sleep in the hospital, as the disruption of sleep is common through frequent monitoring and procedures, noise, lighting, and anxiety about being in the hospital (Robinson et al., 2005). Another barrier is the critical care environment, which has more invasive monitoring and tests and noise from monitors and ventilators (Eliassen & Hopstock, 2011).
The implications of using nonpharmacological method of sleep, while not only providing more rest to support healing, also can allow patients to feel as if the medical staff is concerned about them and gives them some control (Jones & Dawson, 2012) while reducing the adverse effects that can accompany sedatives (Robinson et al., 2005).
These authors feel the current hospital environment should change to help promote sleep and rest, and using nonpharmacological methods to promote sleep offers patients alternatives to sedatives. By lowering noise during the night, adjusting lighting, limiting the times patients are awakened, the nursing profession can continue to strive to treat the whole patient.
Research and Literature Review
The first article to be outline, The Sh-h-h-h Project, delves into nonpharmacological ways to promote better quality of sleep for patients in a hospital medical unit. “Noise, treatments, pain, undimmed lights, discomfort related to room temperature, early morning awakenings, and worry” (Robinson, Weitzel, & Henderson, 2005, p. 263) are identified as factors contributing to poor sleep. Nonpharmacological interventions implemented were muscle relaxation, music, aromatherapy, dimming lights, and prayer. Additionally, warm blankets and drinks were used to stimulate comfort. All of the above interventions showed a decreased blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. Noise was an inevitable factor for patients, and interventions were to close patients’ doors, speak in lower voices, use heavy drapes, lower alarms when...