Sleep in the Intensive Care Unit: A Review

J Intensive Care Med. 2016 Jan;31(1):14-23. doi: 10.1177/0885066614538749. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are susceptible to sleep deprivation. Disrupted sleep is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the critically ill patients. The etiology of sleep disruption is multifactorial. The article reviews the literature on sleep in the ICU, the effects of sleep deprivation, and strategies to promote sleep in the ICU. Until the impact of disrupted sleep is better explained, it is appropriate to provide critically ill patients with consolidated, restorative sleep.

Keywords: intensive care; sleep; sleep deprivation; sleep in critical care; sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Bed Rest
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Critical Illness / psychology
  • Critical Illness / rehabilitation
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Environment Design
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Lighting / adverse effects*
  • Massage
  • Music Therapy
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Noise / prevention & control
  • Polysomnography
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sleep Deprivation / etiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Sleep Deprivation / therapy*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical / adverse effects*


  • Analgesics