Hospital noise fractures sleep

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1. Nighttime hospital noise causes poor sleep and adds up to poor healing
2. In a lab sleep study, recorded hospital sounds of overhead paging, IV alarms, squeaky carts and the like disrupted sleep and raised heart rates as per Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD, of Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in June 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
3. Electronic alert sounds like ringing phones and IV alarms are the most “potent” in arousing sleepers, disrupting normal sleep brain wave patterns more than half of the time, even when set at their quietest settings.
4. Staff conversations and voice paging at a level of 50 dB — quieter than normal conversation — disrupted sleep half of the time in the study.

5. The 14 common sounds used in the study were voices, IV alarm, phone, ice machine, toilet flush, laundry cart, outside traffic and helicopter noise (played at levels increasing from 40 to 70 dB). The heart rate jumped about 10 bpm when a sound fully roused a sleeper.
6. When sleep was disrupted, even for a few seconds, heart rates increased. Sleep disruption occurred most often during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the lightest sleep stage.