Study: Pain results in poor sleep extends, hospital stay for surgical patients

Postsurgical pain can make it difficult for patients to sleep while recovering in the hospital, often resulting in longer hospital stays, according to a study conducted at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Researchers Anya Miller, MD, of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford, and colleagues, studied 50 patients who had undergone total hip or total knee replacement surgery and looked at the patients’ total sleep time, sleep efficiency, pain scores and use of narcotics for pain. Researchers chose a hospital floor that observes a quiet time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. where the doors are closed and lights are dimmed.

“Our results show that increased pain scores result in decreased sleep duration,” Miller stated. “So better pain control could potentially improve sleep duration for these patients.”

Specifically, the results showed that postsurgical patients have significantly decreased sleep efficiency and wake more frequently when compared to the population. The researchers also found that poor sleep results in higher pain scores and better pain control results in improved sleep, which could decrease hospital stays after surgery.

“Sleep is very important to patients’ recovery following surgery, Miller stated. “If we can identify factors that cause disruption in patients’ sleep such as pain, noise and interruptions in the hospital setting we can improve sleep quality and potentially decrease adverse outcomes.”


Miller A. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;doi:10.1177/0194599814541627a322.

Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.