Factors that Influence Rest & Sleep

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  • 0:00 Factors Influencing Sleep
  • 0:45 Life & Stress
  • 1:46 Environment & Health
  • 2:35 What You Can Do
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

What causes you to fall asleep faster? Is it a set temperature? Do you like the light on? Do you meditate before sleep? There are numerous factors that influence rest and sleep, and this lesson goes over many of them.

Factors Influencing Sleep

I recently moved to a new city. Here, I live very close to the highway. While the noise pollution is minimal, I come from a far quieter part of the country where there is no noise pollution, so for me, that minimal increase in noise is significant enough to keep me awake. So much so, that I've had to use earplugs to help me fall and stay asleep. Maybe one day I'll get used to the noise, but for now, that's what I have to do.

Noise pollution is just one factor that influences rest and sleep. A hospital patient's stay, and for this lesson's sake, rest and sleep, are influenced by a myriad of factors as well. This lesson will point them out for you.

Life & Stress

Let's face it. Our lifestyle influences the amount and quality of sleep we get all of the time. Those of us who smoke, consume alcohol, or are quite big on caffeinated drinks are going to suffer the consequences of getting little sleep or poor quality sleep as a result.

If you exercise in the morning or day, congratulations! Not only are you keeping healthy, but you are actually going to enjoy better sleep, all else held equal, than people who do not exercise. However, if you exercise within one to two hours of bedtime, then you should remember this will hinder your sleep.

We also have to factor in where someone works. People who work during the night have trouble getting enough sleep during the day, and even people who work during the day can have poor quality sleep at night, as a result of the stresses encountered in their work environment. Stress can also occur from problems with family or friends, like arguments or financial troubles, which can ruin a person's sleep.

Environment & Health

While we can all choose to exercise earlier and to forego the $10 morning Startenbucks latte, some factors may be outside of our control. These include some environmental factors and health concerns.

If there's a lot of noise pollution, then obviously like myself, a person is going to have trouble sleeping. If you live in a home that doesn't have air conditioning, and it's a hot summer night, that's going to be a hard environment to sleep in.

People who suffer from intractable, meaning resistant-to-treatment, unmanageable, pain, will obviously have a hard time sleeping or getting quality sleep. Itching, difficulty breathing, fever, the need to urinate a lot, and plenty of other medical problems can keep a person awake, as well.

What You Can Do

In a hospital setting, the promotion of sleep is a critical nursing function. Remember, it is during sleep that the body restores itself the most. Thus, the promotion of sleep itself, as well as high quality sleep, is a very important aspect of patient care. So, what can you do to help a patient sleep?

First, do all you can to ensure the environment is just right. Ask the patient what their room temperature preference is. I know for a fact I can't sleep well when it's above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For many people that's way too cold, but for me, anything above that is too hot.

Given that, I also like to snuggle up in many blankets at night. So, give the patient as many blankets or pillows as they like. While some people like to sleep in complete darkness, a small nightlight may help in some cases since patients may not know their way around a hospital room. Safety is just as important as sleep.

And given that, ensure that pathways from the bed to the bathroom and from the bed to the door are clear of any obstacles. This is doubly true if the patient is elderly or has trouble walking or maintaining balance.

Finally, don't forget to close the door to minimize noise pollution. I know, given my introductory example, I'd appreciate it.

Keeping the environment conducive to sleep is important, but so is patient comfort and relaxation, which often go hand in hand. You can help wash a patient's face and hands, brush their teeth, detangle their hair, and offer a snack and warm milk, if they like. Some patients will need to be assisted with toileting and repositioning in bed to keep comfortable.

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