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Overcoming Sleep Issues That Accompany Illness

At Santé, we provide palliative care to patients suffering from serious long-term illnesses. Although sleep disturbances are not always discussed with patients discharged from a short-term hospital stay, sleep issues commonly accompany long-term illness. In both our post-acute care facility and palliative care program, we aim to design a care plan that promotes adequate, restful sleep.

Why do sleep disturbances accompany illness?

There are many reasons that patients suffering from illnesses also suffer from problems with falling asleep and staying asleep. Some patients struggle to catch their breath when they lie down or experience chronic pain that makes falling asleep challenging. Other patients are burdened with nervousness or anxiety or are simply unable to burn enough energy during the day to get tired by bedtime. As well, some illnesses and medications result in more frequent bathroom use that can wake the patient at night, make it difficult to fall asleep, or cause strange dreams.

What are the dangers of sleep deprivation?

Patients who are not getting enough rest at night face additional risks associated with sleeplessness:

  • Weakened immune system; increased risk of infection
  • Increased risk of depression or anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Glucose intolerance or diabetes
  • Difficulty healing
  • Cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.

As you can see, getting enough sleep at night is critical for patients already facing illness to ensure their bodies are able to heal, recover, and maintain themselves.

How can palliative care help?

Our palliative care experts take a look at the whole picture and the whole patient. How they can help with sleep disturbances depends on which factors are preventing a restful night’s sleep. In some cases, the medication regimen can be adjusted to promote rest. In other cases, additional medications can be added before bed to alleviate pain or induce sleep. Sometimes simple lifestyle changes – like eliminating caffeine, playing soft music, or changing the ambiance of the room – can provide much-needed relief.

Our compassionate certified nursing assistants are focused on each patient’s unique and individual circumstances with one goal in mind: To make them as comfortable as possible despite their circumstances. To learn more about the services Santé provides, contact us at one of our many locations throughout Arizona.

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