Modern research has found cyclical patterns in our sleep behavior and brainwaves. The repeating pattern seems to last about an hour and a half and it is not unusual for the timing of a nights sleep to be an approximate multiple of 1.5 hours. Each cycle normally has REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (Non REM) stages with NREM further broken down into 3 or 4 stages. It has also been observed that the restfulness of a nights sleep improves with the number of consecutive cycles completed. In any event we sleep seems to be designed to span the hours of darkness without interruption until daylight. So if one wanted to deprive a sick patient of sleep it is not really necessary to keep them up all night. Occasional disturbances that interfere with the number of completed hour and a half sleep cycles, or otherwise thoughtfully breaks up sleep, may be effective in severely diminishing or destroying the normal restorative properties of sleep without being easily noticeable.
Owner's Manual to the Brain, 2nd ed, Howard, Section 7.1
Sleep the Gentle Tyrant, Webb
Oct 26, '12
it is called torture if you do it intentionally. It can result in ICU psychosis in hospital settings. We NEED to sleep.
Oct 26, '12
I believe all this completely, as a nurse who worked 11 pm to 7 am for 17 years, I hated disturbing patients.
But (there is always a but) just a few days ago on All Nurses a nurse didn't notice an infiltrated IV during the night shift.
Of course working nights you don't want to turn on the over head lights and do a full assessment every two hours. You know sleep is important.
I had to remind myself.......the patients need to be checked every two hours, they wouldn't be here if they weren't sick and didn't need it.
I doesn't mean I can't try to minimize the assessment as much as possible, but still you have to use your judgement, trust your nursing skills, instincts, and protocols, and if that means waking up a patient it has to be done.