Tags: red | light | bulbs | hospital | patients | sleep

Red Light Bulbs Help Hospital Patients Sleep, Researchers Find

By    |   Monday, 20 Jul 2015 02:14 PM


Patients in hospitals often complain they can't get a decent night's sleep for all of the bright lights seeping under the doors of their rooms, interruptions by the staff, and the noises from machines. Still, adequate sleep is essential for good health, and is especially important in recovering from an illness or surgery.

Lisa Letzkus, a doctoral nursing student at the University of Virginia may have found a way to help patients get a better night's sleep — a red-colored light bulb.

Previous studies determined that red light promotes sleep more than any other color. White and yellow light, the colors most commonly used in hospitals, tend to stimulate.

"While we nurses cannot completely control noise levels, insulation or the thickness of the walls," Letzkus said, "we can control other environmental factors that promote healing and rest. And lighting is definitely something nurses can control."

Letzkus is undertaking a study on the effects of red light on sleep and sleep disturbances among both adult and child patients. They will wear Actiwatches, devices worn around the wrist that record the patients' sleep and wake cycles as well as the intensity of light in the room.

In one unit, Letzkus plans to replace regular recessed flood lights with a single red-colored bulb. In the second unit, bedside nurses will wear necklaces that emit only low-level red and white lights when they do their rounds caring for patients.

The patients will then be interviewed and asked how well they felt they slept, and their nurses will be questioned as well. Letzkus hopes a full-scale clinical trial will follow. The results could change the way the hospital is lit as well as the way nighttime rounds are conducted.

Letzkus says the study will be a chance to consider the conditions in patients' rooms as well as to help design hospitals and clinics in the future.

"There needs to be really thoughtful collaborations when buildings and hospital rooms are being developed to revisit every possible scenario so we're giving the very best possible care to the patient," she said. "We do need light options that work, but sometimes we don't need the maximum of light, and in some things, like light, we should do with the least amount possible."


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Patients in hospitals often complain they can't get a decent night's sleep for all of the bright lights seeping under the doors of their rooms, interruptions by the staff, and the noises from machines. Still, adequate sleep is essential for good health, and is especially...
red, light, bulbs, hospital, patients, sleep
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2015-14-20
Monday, 20 Jul 2015 02:14 PM
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