Eye Masks and Earplugs Help in ICU

FUZHOU, China, April 16 (UPI) — Chinese researchers suggest eye masks and earplugs may help patients in intensive care units to sleep.

Researchers at the Fujian Medical University in Fuzhou, China, led by Xiaoying Jiang, found slumber aids such as masks and plugs helped 14 healthy volunteers exposed to the sounds and light levels found in the ICU get a better night’s sleep.

“Sleep disruption is common in intensive care unit patients and has been associated with impaired immune function, decreased inspiratory muscle endurance, extended mechanical ventilation, delirium and severe morbidity,” Jiang said in a statement.

Jiang and colleagues measured sleep quality over four nights — a night to get used to the new environment, a “baseline” night and the last two nights randomized to be exposed to either a night of noise and light followed by a night with use of slumber aids or vice-versa.

“The earplugs and eye masks were applied easily and remained in place and intact throughout the nights they were used,” Jiang said.

Jiang suggests earplugs and eye masks be routinely used by intensive care patients.

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