The purpose of this paper is to bring awareness and possible solutions to the ongoing issue of sleep deprivation in hospitalized patients, specifically patients in the intensive care unit. Sleep deprivation can lead to delay in healing, and therefore delay in discharge. There are also many other issues that coincide with sleep deprivation, such as risk for development of delirium and lack of motivation to participate in care. The ICU is a constant state of distress for not only the staff, but also the family members and ultimately the patient. The stressful environment can inhibit relaxation needed to sleep, which leads to the issue of sleep deprivation. There are various interventions that nurses can take to decrease the stress and stimulation that the intensive care unit creates. It has been discovered that “noise levels in ICUs have been found to be beyond acceptable levels with average daytime sound pressure levels of around 60 A-weighted decibels (dBA) and peak levels > 90 dBA, the equivalent of standing next to a highway” (Simons et al., 2018, p. 2). Considering all the alarms sounding, communication of staff, and the constant movement of providers, the noise level tends to be non-conducive to sleep. Purposeful interventions to address sleep deprivation in the ICU setting include attempts in noise and light reduction for the patients. Some methods of noise reduction that have been tested are the use of earplugs so that the increased noise level of the ICU is dampened for patients to encourage relaxation and rest.

Date of publication

Spring 4-22-2024

Document Type

MSN Capstone Project



Persistent identifier



Master of Science in Nursing Education

Included in

Nursing Commons