We certainly agree with our colleagues that studying the effect of noise disruption in the hospital setting on sleep architecture, particularly on the level of slow-wave sleep (SWS) is critical. Because our study used actigraphy and not polysomnography, we are unable to ascertain the association between hospital noise and sleep architecture in our sample. In future studies, quantifying the SWS loss due to hospitalization may help understand adverse health consequences hospitalized patients face. This is especially the case, as our colleagues at the University of Chicago and others have demonstrated that selective deprivation of SWS is associated with a variety of adverse health consequences that could affect the recovery process from acute illness, including impaired blood glucose tolerance, higher blood pressure, and decreased pain tolerance.1-3 Given the typical compensatory increase of SWS in response to acute sleep deprivation, another interesting question is whether a corresponding “rebound” of SWS occurs in recently hospitalized patients.
Arora VM, Yoder JC, Knutson KL. To Sleep or Not To Sleep: Do We Forget Our Patient's Sleep?—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(9):746–747. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1092
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