Patients in intensive care are not getting the quality sleep they need to overcome their illnesses, according to a new study.
Researchers at UT Southwestern say the environment and hospital procedures in intensive care units aren't allowing patients to achieve the deep REM stage of sleep.
They studied the brain waves of 16 patients in intensive care and found that, while they got a sufficient amount of sleep, their sleep patterns were interrupted and abnormal.
Since quality sleep is vital for the body to heal, researchers say hospitals should try using silent alarms on monitoring machines, dimming the lights or even giving patients ear plugs.
Researchers say the next step is to design a clinical trial that makes the ICU environment more conducive to sleep and then monitor the patients' outcome.