You may have to stay at the hospital when a loved one is a patient because you want to monitor your loved one's care or because you want to show your loved one support. Regardless of the reason, sleeping in a hospital can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are some ways you can get some semi-normal sleep while in the hospital.
Ask for Some Bedding
At most hospitals, you won't have to ask for a pillow and a sheet if you are staying overnight. You also need to ask for a blanket, and find out if you can have an extra pillow. If you aren't able to get these items from the hospital, find out if you can have someone bring these items to you. There are some rooms, such as bone marrow transplant rooms or rooms where the patient has strict respiratory precautions, in which you won't be allowed to bring your own bedding.
How to Get a Good Night Sleep in a Hospital Chair
Those pesky hospital chairs are pure torture when it is time to get some sleep. They are lumpy and just plain uncomfortable. One way you can try to get some extra sleep is to have someone bring you a thick mattress cover. One that resembles an egg carton is ideal. These can be cut with a pair of scissors so that they fit the hospital chair. Use your extra pillow to cushion your back from that ill-placed armrest.
Tips to Reduce Nurse Visits that Interrupt Your Sleep
One of the most common reasons for broken sleep at night is because the nurse comes in to check on your loved one, take vital signs or administer medication. While you won't be able to do much about this if your loved one is unstable, you may be able to work it out to where the nighttime visits are kept to a minimum. It is best to try to make arrangements when the charge nurse is on duty, which is usually during the day. Ask to find out the schedule the night nurse has to follow and work with the charge nurse to determine how the schedule can maximize the opportunity for sleep. If all else fails, have the charge nurse leave orders to at least keep the lights dim when she or he has to come into the room at night.
Sleeping When Families are Visiting Roommates
If your loved one is in a semi-private room or open ward, sleeping when families are visiting other patients can prove to be difficult. If this is what is happening when you are trying to sleep, try to be patient. A sleep mask and some ear plugs may work to keep the noise down. You can also ask the nurse to remind family members that other people are trying to get some sleep.
Most hospitals don't want to make sleeping in a hospital difficult, but the procedures and policies concerning the patient's care have to be followed.