Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2017
In 1859 Florence Nightingale published her book ‘Notes on Nursing’ which contains a lot of good advice about sleep in patients which the modern day NHS would do well to heed. Below are some of the things she recommends, “Of one thing you may be certain, that anything which wakes a patient suddenly out of his sleep will invariably put him into a state of greater excitement, do him more serious, aye, and lasting mischief, than any continuous noise, however loud.” “Never to allow a patient to be waked, intentionally or accidentally, is a sine qua non of all good nursing. If he is roused out of his first sleep, he is almost certain to have no more sleep. It is a curious but quite intelligible fact that, if a patient is waked after a few hours' instead of a few minutes' sleep, he is much more likely to sleep again.” “Because pain, like irritability of brain, perpetuates and intensifies itself. If you have gained a respite of either in sleep you have gained more than the mere respite. Both the probability of recurrence and of the same intensity will be diminished; whereas both will be terribly increased by want of sleep. This is the reason why sleep is so all-important. This is the reason why a patient waked in the early part of his sleep loses not only his sleep, but his power to sleep. A healthy person who allows himself to sleep during the day will lose his sleep at night. But it is exactly the reverse with the sick generally; the more they sleep, the better will they be able to sleep.” “Unnecessary noise, then, is the most cruel absence of care which can be inflicted either on sick or well.” “Everything you do in a patient's room, after he is "put up" for the night, increases tenfold the risk of his having a bad night. But, if you rouse him up after he has fallen asleep, you do not risk, you secure him a bad night.”  “I once told a "very good nurse" that the way in which her patient's room was kept was quite enough to account for his sleeplessness; and she answered quite good-humouredly she was not at all surprised at it--as if the state of the room were, like the state of the weather, entirely out of her power. Now in what sense was this woman to be called a "nurse?"”