BACKGROUND: Sleep and circadian disturbances play a major role in recovery after critical illness. Ample research has shown sleep to be disturbed during the stay at the intensive care unit (ICU); however, the trajectory of sleep after ICU discharge is sparsely described. The current study aimed to describe the development of the sleep-wake rhythm in subjects discharged from ICU to a hospital ward.
METHODS: Following discharge from the ICU to a general hospital ward, the participants were monitored with an ActiGraph for sleep assessment for 7 days or until hospital discharge or death. Data were analysed for day-to-day change with t-tests and for the whole period with repeated measures analysis.
RESULTS: For the 38 included patients, repeated measures analysis showed no significant improvement in total sleep time and wake time. However, for secondary outcomes, improvements for wake after sleep onset (P = .02) and reduction in the number of naps (P = .03) both in the day-to-day and overall trend analysis were observed.
CONCLUSION: The duration of sleep and wake time did not improve during ward stay. However, sleep became less fragmented and naps during the day declined. Due to the small sample size further, larger trials are needed.