Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine Position Paper on Patient Sleep during Hospitalization

David R. Hillman*, Melissa Carlucci, Jean G. Charchaflieh, Tom V. Cloward, Bhargavi Gali, Peter C. Gay, M. Melanie Lyons, Margaret M. McNeill, Mandeep Singh, Meltem Yilmaz, Dennis H. Auckley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article addresses the issue of patient sleep during hospitalization, which the Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine believes merits wider consideration by health authorities than it has received to date. Adequate sleep is fundamental to health and well-being, and insufficiencies in its duration, quality, or timing have adverse effects that are acutely evident. These include cardiovascular dysfunction, impaired ventilatory function, cognitive impairment, increased pain perception, psychomotor disturbance (including increased fall risk), psychological disturbance (including anxiety and depression), metabolic dysfunction (including increased insulin resistance and catabolic propensity), and immune dysfunction and proinflammatory effects (increasing infection risk and pain generation). All these changes negatively impact health status and are counterproductive to recovery from illness and operation. Hospitalization challenges sleep in a variety of ways. These challenges include environmental factors such as noise, bright light, and overnight awakenings for observations, interventions, and transfers; physiological factors such as pain, dyspnea, bowel or urinary dysfunction, or discomfort from therapeutic devices; psychological factors such as stress and anxiety; care-related factors including medications or medication withdrawal; and preexisting sleep disorders that may not be recognized or adequately managed. Many of these challenges appear readily addressable. The key to doing so is to give sleep greater priority, with attention directed at ensuring that patients' sleep needs are recognized and met, both within the hospital and beyond. Requirements include staff education, creation of protocols to enhance the prospect of sleep needs being addressed, and improvement in hospital design to mitigate environmental disturbances. Hospitals and health care providers have a duty to provide, to the greatest extent possible, appropriate preconditions for healing. Accumulating evidence suggests that these preconditions include adequate patient sleep duration and quality. The Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine calls for systematic changes in the approach of hospital leadership and staff to this issue. Measures required include incorporation of optimization of patient sleep into the objectives of perioperative and general patient care guidelines. These steps should be complemented by further research into the impact of hospitalization on sleep, the effects of poor sleep on health outcomes after hospitalization, and assessment of interventions to improve it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-824
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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