Rough Guide- The Power of Sleep #16

There are a million & one good reasons for being discharged from hospital as soon after surgery as you can be -as long as it’s safe of course. There are direct benefits for other people who are waiting for surgery as beds become available sooner, the best use is made of precious resources & it keeps The Beast realitively well-fed & more docile hopefully!

My number one good reason for getting home ASAP has to be:

You get more sleep & feel more secure.

As a child I loved Bunty a comic, for “girls like you” (presumably the boys equivalent was The Eagle although with no young brothers I couldn’t say). My absolute favourite was the Four Mary’s.4marys65

 While I did go to a similar school to The Four, I never got to board:

  1. I was a Scholarship (non paying) ‘Gel’.
  2. We lived too near (even if my parents could have afforded the fees!)
  3.  Most importantly because my mum was appalled by the whole boarding thing.

What’s the point of this? Oh yes.

For most of the population, who have never boarded, served in the Armed Forces or been regulars at Hostels, sleeping in a domitory surrounded by strangers is an experience that will only ever happen when they go to hospital.

It’s not just that; sharing space with strangers overnight demands nerves of steel, add in the inevitable farters, wifflers, somniloquists, (the list goes on) & the prospect becomes increasingly unappealling!

And that’s just Boarding School, Barracks & Hostels!

 In hospital night-times can be even more stressful. People may be confused, in pain or distress, even dying: familiar to hospital staff, I think sometimes we forget how alien it is for patients…

Then of course, there are things to be done for patients overnight. There will be noisy monitors, alarms & buzzers going off & possibly a medical emergency which demands all the lights in the bay go on & all hell breaks out, frightening in itself.

It’s not so bad if the nurses are mindful that while they are working & wide awake, their charges are  trying to sleep in this Alien world. bovver boots

I’ve been on both sides of the mirror in this regard. As a nurse it’s really concerning when people aren’t getting good quality sleep, because in hospital they most certainly need it. There are some great nurses who will move heaven & earth to help patients to sleep without resorting to medication.

As a patient (not just on this ocassion), a couple of night’s sleep deprivation undoubtedly makes me feel more unwell than ever & after a long period , I did end up having an attack of the screaming abdabs !


 Overall sleep (or lack of it) in hospital is  horrible & what is more it’s bad for you, really bad.

It all sounds pretty dire I know, however there are things which you can do to help yourself. You may also want to take your own pillow (do remember to put it in an easily identifiable pillow-case & take a couple of spares). If you have a smart phone with earplugs & it’s going to be practical to use it then there are a vast array of sleep aid apps available which you could try.

If you are a night-shift worker, it’s worth mentioning this to the staff, if it’s possible you can try to stick to your normal routine, but it will help them to know what it is!

Finally, don’t get too worked up if you don’t sleep at night, the important thing is that you do sleep.

sleepyHolly xx


  1. DaveP says

    I’ll always remember, during my 24 hours on a high dependency ward following a lung biopsy, the shock of being woken out of a fitful sleep by a trainee HD nurse who attempted to take my temperature with an ear probe which, I’m convinced, actually buzzed when it was used! I suspect my borderline violent reaction will ensure that the nurse will also remember the incident for quite a while to come!

    • Holly Berry says

      Eek – not a nice thing to happen Dave P! I often think it would be good for health professionals to be exposed to some of the “routine” experiences which people who are patients have to go through, like I did when I was being educated back in the Dark Ages! In fact, you’ve prompted me to think about this a little more deeply so thanks for that. I bet your blood pressure & pulse shot through the roof when that happened to you ;0/.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *