Earplugs and eye masks should be given to patients in intensive care wards to help them get a better night’s sleep and aid their recovery, researchers have said.
There has been a link between patients spending extra time on ventilators if their sleep has been affected by noise from machines and members of staff, thus affecting their recovery, according to researchers in China.
Patients are less likely to wake in the night if they are wearing earplugs and eye masks, according to a study.
When the items are worn, levels of the sleep hormone melatonin were found to increase.
Furthermore, people report feeling better about their quality of sleep and are less aware of their surroundings than before.
The study on 14 healthy people was carried out at Fujian Medical University in China and published in the journal Critical Care.
Researcher Xiaoying Jiang exposed people to recordings of intensive care noise and equivalent levels of light for four nine-hour periods.
Two noisy nights were analysed for the trial - one without eye masks and earplugs and one with.
She said: “Sleep disruption is common in intensive care unit patients and has been associated with impaired immune function, decreased inspiratory muscle endurance, extended mechanical ventilation, delirium and severe morbidity.”