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Circadian Rhythm/etiology, Critical care nurse, Intensive care units, Noise/adverse effects, Sleep, Sleep Disorders



  1. Giusti, Gian Domenico MSN, RN
  2. Tuteri, Debora RN
  3. Giontella, Mirella MSN, RN


Background: Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) often experience sleep deprivation due to different factors. Its consequences are damaging both physiologically and psychologically. This study focuses particularly on nursing interactions as the main factor involved in sleep deprivation issues.


Objectives: The aims of this study were to examine the frequency, pattern, and types of nocturnal care interactions with patients in the respiratory and cardiology ICUs; analyze the relationship between these interactions and patients' variables (age, sex, recovery diagnosis, and acuity of care); and analyze the differences in patterns of nocturnal care interactions among the units.


Methods: This is an observational retrospective study that analyzes the frequency, pattern, and types of nocturnal care interactions with patients between 7 PM and 6 AM recording data in the activity data sheets.


Results: Data consisted of 93 data assessment sheets. The mean number of care interactions per night was 18.65 (SD, 3.71). In both ICUs, interactions were most frequent at 7 PM, 10 PM, and 6 AM. Only 8 uninterrupted sleep periods occurred. Frequency of interactions correlated significantly with patients' acuity scores and the number of nurse interventions in both ICUs.


Conclusions: Patients in ICUs have fragmented sleep patterns. This study underlines the need to develop new management approaches to promote and maintain sleep.