Linda Gellerstedt (Rn, Msc) has worked as a registered nurse since 1995 and recently she has been working night shift on a gastroenterology ward at Karolinska University Hospital. In 2011 she completed her master’s degree studies at Sophiahemmet University. Since 2011she has worked as a clinical nurse and on a research project about sleep at Sophiahemmet University. In 2014 she was registered as a PhD student at Karolinska Institutet and Sophiahemmet University. Till today, Linda has conducted two sub studies and these are published. Parallel to the doctoral studies, Linda works as a teacher in nursing. She is a member of the Swedish Network for Sleep and Health.
The importance of sleep for maintenance of good health and recovery from illness and or injury cannot be challenged. In connection with disease and/or bodily injury, the body has an increased need for sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with several diseases and increased mortality.
Promoting good sleep for patients during hospital care is an important component in professional nursing. Nurses are in a unique position through their closeness to patients. From this close position, patient’s health and well-being can be promoted by actively working to improve patients’ sleep quality. There is a growing concern about sleep during hospital stay because the subject is not prioritized. Nevertheless, studies have showed that many patients experience sleep disturbance and a reduced quality of sleep during hospitalization. Studies have shown that sleep disturbances are very common among inpatients and that the patients have a reduced quality of sleep during hospital care. Disturbed sleep for inpatients can affect their ability to concentrate, causes difficulties in managing anxiety, contribute to changes in mood and ability to handle pain and stress.
To initiate sleep-promoting interventions, nurses need basic knowledge about sleep physiology and sleep promoting interventions. A lack of knowledge may lead to a failure to identify symptoms related to sleep deprivation. Therefore, it is of importance to explore and describe nurses’ experiences regarding patients sleep as well as how they perceive their work in facilitating patients’ sleep during hospital care.
The results indicate that nurses currently have insufficient knowledge about sleep and sleep-promoting interventions. These aspects of nursing are based on personal experience and common sense rather than being evidence based. Furthermore, sleep as a nursing topic needs to be developed and given more focus in order for nurses to be able to deliver high quality care at emergency hospitals.