Sleep is an important part of healing and recovery, but hospitals are busy, noisy places. It is not easy to get the rest you need. Along with basic sleep tips like limiting naps and caffeine, you may want to try these ideas.
Bring personal items that will help you feel more at home.
For example, you might bring:
- Your favorite pajamas, robe, and slippers.
- Your own pillow and blanket.
- A favorite photo for your bedside table.
- Make your room dark, cool, and quiet at night.
- Pull the blinds or curtains, turn out the light, and close the door if possible. Using a sleep mask may help too.
- If there’s a thermostat in your room, turn it down a few degrees at night. Ask a nurse for a warm blanket if you need one.
- Use earplugs to block out noise. It may also help to play soothing music or use a white noise machine.
Manage your visitors.
- Ask people to visit during the day or early evening and leave by 8 p.m. (depending on each hospital’s visiting guidelines).
Get some sunlight during the day.
- This helps to reset your body’s sleep and wake cycles. Open the blinds or curtains in the morning. If possible, sit by the window or go outside if you are permitted.
Be as active as you can in the daytime.
- This may help you sleep better at night. Walk if you can or do light exercises in your bed or chair. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations.
Work with your roommate.
- If you have a roommate, see if you can agree on some nighttime practices to help you both sleep better. For example, you might agree that by 9 or 10 p.m. you will:
- Turn off the TV.
- Silence your phone.
- Use headphones or earbuds to listen to music.
- Have no visitors.
Use the toilet before bedtime.
- This may help you avoid getting up at night to go.
Discuss your medicines with your doctor.
- If you take medicine that could disturb your sleep, ask if you can take it during the day instead of at night.
- If you take pain medicine, ask if you can take it at night to help you sleep.
Ask your care team for help.
- Ask your nurses if they can limit how often they wake you. They may be able to adjust your monitoring and medicine schedules.
- Ask your care team any questions you may have and additional information for making your stay the safest and pleasant possible.