Sleep deprivation in critical illness: Its role in physical and psychological recovery

Biren B. Kamdar, Dale M. Needham, Nancy A. Collop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Critically ill patients frequently experience poor sleep, characterized by frequent disruptions, loss of circadian rhythms, and a paucity of time spent in restorative sleep stages. Factors that are associated with sleep disruption in the intensive care unit (ICU) include patient-ventilator dysynchrony, medications, patient care interactions, and environmental noise and light. As the field of critical care increasingly focuses on patients' physical and psychological outcomes following critical illness, understanding the potential contribution of ICU-related sleep disruption on patient recovery is an important area of investigation. This review article summarizes the literature regarding sleep architecture and measurement in the critically ill, causes of ICU sleep fragmentation, and potential implications of ICU-related sleep disruption on patients' recovery from critical illness. With this background information, strategies to optimize sleep in the ICU are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • intensive care unit
  • mental health
  • outcomes
  • sleep
  • sleep deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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