Sleep and the Sleep Environment of Older Adults in Acute Care Settings

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The purpose of this descriptive pilot study was to describe sleep characteristics of hospitalized older adults and the nighttime environmental noise and light they encountered. Study participants included patients in an acute care setting; actigraphy and light and sound meters were used to measure the variables. Mean sleep time was 215 minutes, and the average sleep efficiency was 44.72%. Nighttime sleep was fragmented into 5 to 38 intervals of 15 to 24 minutes, with frequent awakenings. Mean light levels were 6.14 lux, with peak intensities of 59.68 lux lasting 95 minutes each night. Mean sound levels were 52.87 dB(A). Sleep was markedly impaired in an environment of elevated light and sound levels. Understanding the role of noise and light in the sleep efficiency of ill older adults can help nurses identify sources of noise and light and initiate sleep improvement protocols.

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