Reducing Unnecessary Sleep Disruption for Neonatal Patients Academic Article uri icon


  • This research addresses a major issue that is receiving growing attention in neonatal intensive care: the importance of uninterrupted sleep to promote healthy cognitive and physical development for NICU patients. This issue is addressed by targeting classic human factors problems with alarms in critical care environments. The focus of this research is in the intersection between alarm problems and problems related to unnecessary disruption of patients’ sleep. An observational study is currently underway at a major metropolitan hospital to document the relationship between alarms and sleep/wake state, highlighting characteristics of alarms and contexts when sleep is disrupted due to clinically insignificant/inactionable alarms and also when nurses’ response to the alarms leads to them intentionally waking the patients when it is unnecessary to do so. Methods for this work are discussed in detail, and preliminary anecdotal findings suggest that apnea and bradycardia are some of the more problematic alarms for unnecessary sleep disruption. Future research plans to address these and other problematic alarms are also discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rajaraman, S., & Ferris, T.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • June 2013