Resting for Recovery: How to Have a Better Sleep in Hospital

Rest is an essential part of the recovery process, whether you've recently had an operation, given birth to a beautiful new arrival or are recovering from a recent period of illness. However, an unfamiliar environment can, unfortunately, result in a restless night. If you are struggling to get some shut-eye in hospital, or are worried you won’t sleep well during an upcoming stay, you will be happy to know there are certain things you can do to help you get some quality rest. Find out how to have a better sleep in the hospital.

Ask for Medication to Enjoy Sleep

Sleep can be a challenge in a busy hospital, as staff or patients might continuously disturb you. If you need help falling and staying asleep, you should talk to your doctor about medications that can help you to fall asleep. If the hospital staff does not know you’re not sleeping well, they won’t offer the medication, so speak up if you’re struggling to sleep. Sleep can considerably speed up the recovery process, so you’ll soon be back home in the comfort of your own bed.

Bring Your Own Pillow and Blanket

Many people are quite particular when it comes to their pillows or bedding, even if they do not realize it. You might, therefore, have a better night’s sleep if you have the items during your stay. So, if you feel as if you cannot do without it, pack it with your hospital bag, as it could help you enjoy a more comfortable stay.

Request the Right Mattress

Many hospitals will turn to a reputable supplier of foam hospital mattresses, which are designed to support a range of medical conditions so that patients can enjoy a safe and comfortable stay. If you are struggling to sleep, you should ask if the hospital could potentially change your mattress. For example, many are designed to cool patients down, warm them up or offer more support, so discuss any discomfort you are feeling with the care team.

Only Sleep During the Night

If possible, you should avoid having a nap throughout the day, so you’re more likely to sleep throughout the night. However, if you’re exhausted or are recovering from a major operation, you should rest when you can and on doctor’s orders.

Bring a Sleeping Mask

There might be times when you will need to sleep throughout the day, which is why you would be glad you took a sleeping mask with you. The handy mask will shield your eyes from natural and artificial lighting, which could come from the hospital room, outside window, or hallway, so it’s perfect for use day or night. So, all you need to do is slip on the sleeping mask and enjoy a relaxing sleep, which can help you to get back on your feet quickly.

Close the Door

If possible, ask a member of the care team to close the door when you are trying to sleep. Doing this could considerably block various noises from other hospital rooms and the hallway, so you will not be rudely awoken once you fall asleep.

Take Earplugs

In addition to buying a sleeping mask and closing the door, you should also pack earplugs in your hospital bag. They can help you to block out unwanted noise from patients and staff efficiently so that you can rest undisturbed.

Control the Temperature

Many patients might experience warm days and nights in the hospital, as it will want to ensure all patients are warm throughout their stay. However, this could lead to hot, restless sleep. A fan could, therefore, help to take control of your body’s temperature, so you can quickly cool down. Many modern hospitals now offer temperature controls in individual rooms, so you can quickly adjust the temperature to suit your preference. If they do not provide temperature controls, request a fan to help you feel more comfortable during your stay.

Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

You might be tempted to fill up on coffee or tea during your stay, as you will have plenty of time on your hands. However, doing so can lead to a lack of sleep, which can slow down the recovery process. So, if you want to improve your health, you must avoid caffeine at least four to six hours before your bedtime at the hospital.

Request for No Visitors in the Evening or Morning

Many people might want to visit you during your hospital stay, but they could be preventing you from enjoying a decent night’s sleep. Stop trying to stay awake to accommodate visitors and request they do not visit you during the late evening or early morning so that you can enjoy some shut-eye. You can then provide them with your full attention once they do arrive.

Enquire About a Private Room

While some hospitals will provide all private rooms, others might require you to share with other patients. Unfortunately, this could considerably disturb your sleeping pattern, as chatter, noise or a loud TV may surround you. If this becomes a problem, do not be afraid to ask if a private room is available so you can rest.

Review Your Medication Schedule

Are you kept awake by pain throughout the night? If so, ask if you can take your pain medication before bedtime so that you can enjoy a full night’s sleep in comfort. You should also speak to your doctor about potentially changing your medication schedule. While it might not be possible to change the time for some medications, they might be willing to provide a daily steroid in the morning instead of at night, as it could keep you awake. This will ensure its effects have worn off by the time bedtime rolls around.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

While you may have to wear a hospital gown, a nurse might allow you to wear your own pajamas during your stay. It might make you feel a little more at home and comfortable during your time at the hospital, so you might find it easier to drift off into the land of Nod. However, you should ensure you only wear loose fitted pajamas for breathability and comfort.