Sleep disturbance

Sleep is very important to help children recover. It is sometimes very noisy in the PICU and it can be hard to sleep.

Your child's sleep pattern may be upset because of a combination of:

  • being very unwell
  • being in an unfamiliar environment
  • being on medications that are helping your child keep comfortable but may alter their usual sleep pattern

Staff in PICU know how important sleep is for your child. Some of the ways they help your child are to:

  • encourage your child to be awake for longer periods of time during the day to help them sleep at night-time
  • open the blinds in the daytime
  • encourage your child to do some fun activities during the day if they can manage to

At night, staff will follow as much of the same bedtime routine as you have at home. You can bring things from home to help with this such as a blanket or teddy.

Rarely children need medicines that keep them deeply asleep the whole day. As soon as these medicines can be reduced the staff will start a day/night routine for your child.

Related topics

This topic was reviewed by a paediatric intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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