World Sleep Day 2021 – creating an environment for optimal sleep and healing

On World Sleep Day, we shine a light on the harmful effects of sleep deprivation, which is prevalent in patients cared for in the intensive care (ICU) environment.

Part of our arts in health programme, our innovative research explores the reasons for sleep deprivation in ICU, including major contributing factors such as the patient’s illness or injury, pain from surgical procedures, anxiety and, importantly, the ICU environment itself.

Our research is informing how we can best create an environment for optimal sleep and healing in our new, state-of-the-art ICU at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Generous donations to our Critical Care Campaign have enabled us to design an environment that optimises recovery including flexible lighting system which follows the circadian rhythms, the latest innovations and digital solutions including five sensors measuring environmental factors, a dedicated ICU psychology service, individual rooms with panoramic views across London, and the sky garden for patients to connect with nature and aid in rehabilitation.

“The ICU psychology team is delighted to have contributed to the pioneering sleep studies at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, demonstrating the importance of the environment and psychological factors not only for ICU patients, but also relevant for all patients recovering in hospital,” says Dr Elaine Johnston, Lead ICU clinical psychologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

This holistic model of care will create a patient-focused, world-class environment and we look forward to the opening of the ICU redevelopment in June 2021.