Sleep in the ICU

Adam N. Young, John C. Hunninghake, Aaron B. Holley, Robert J. Walter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Disruption in normal sleep patterns is a common experience during illness, particularly during periods of prolonged or severe sickness. Sleep disturbances frequently occur in critically ill patients in the ICU and have been linked to the development of delirium, prolonged length of stay in the ICU, and increased mortality. Sleep disruption within the hospital environment and its effects on patient recovery is a growing area of focus as medicine has evolved into a more patient-centered model. There are numerous factors, both modifiable and non-modifiable, that contribute to sleep impairment in the ICU. While certain environmental factors can be modified, patient-specific factors should be assessed routinely for optimization. In mechanically ventilated patients, patient-ventilator synchrony is one of the most critical factors for sleep quality and quantity. Ultimately, sleep deprivation in critically ill patients must be recognized as preventable harm, and a multifaceted approach must be instituted to address modifiable risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSleep Disorders in Selected Psychiatric Settings
Subtitle of host publicationA Clinical Casebook
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783030593094
ISBN (Print)9783030593087
StatePublished - 19 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical illness
  • Modifiable environmental factors
  • Patient-ventilator synchrony
  • Sedative medications
  • Sleep impairment


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