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Sleep in ICU improved with eye masks and earplugs


Chinese researchers have proposed that ICU patients should have earplugs and eye masks applied to reduce sleep disruption.

They studied 14 healthy subjects who were asked to sleep in simulated ICU conditions, with and without ear plugs and eye masks.

Use of earplugs and eye masks resulted in more REM time, less arousal and elevated melatonin levels.

The authors said: “Earplugs and eye masks promote sleep and hormone balance in healthy subjects exposed to simulated ICU noise and light, making their promotion in ICU patients reasonable.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • I wonder how much money it took to work that out?????

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  • As an ITU nurse and also as a former ITU patient I can testify as to how difficult it is to get to sleep even in a side room! We're just about to try them on our unit. Though not sure how patients will take to idea.

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  • pretty logical really...........but why stop at ICU patients? ALL patients should them

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  • working in ICU myself I have given out eye masks I had collected from planes to my patients. Unfortunately again its down to a cost factor. Ear plugs I have not tried out as its quite invasive however, the MRI rooms supply them? Totally agree it will help with sleep for some patients. It would be nice to offer ear plug and/or eye masks however not every individual would like them. At present it is up to the individual's family or friends to supply this. This is the joy of the NHS. Are these items cheaper and safer than the drugs we give to help patients sleep?! Of course they are and much safer in terms of polypharmacy.....

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  • This is nothing new, we conducted a study about twenty years ago in our DGH ICU as part of a sensory deprivation study.
    Most patients dont like earplugs and eye masks and refuse to use them. Just keep the lights off and the noise down!
    PS we bought ours with charity funds

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