A paper has been published which helps to show how an NHS trust’s resources are helping patients get a better night’s sleep.
Staff at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) have published a paper showing how their ‘Smarter Sleep’ resources have been effective in helping inpatients to get a better night’s sleep in hospital.
The pharmacy team at CNTW, a provider of mental health and disability services in the north of England, worked with the North East England Regional Sleep Disorders Service and several Consultant Psychiatrists to create the Smarter Sleep resources. These resources aim to help people get better sleep without needing to use sleeping tablets.
People who are struggling to sleep are often prescribed sleeping tablets, also known as hypnotics. These medicines are safe when used for a few weeks. But using them for longer can make someone dependent on them and have some side-effects.
The resources the team created include a short film, posters, and a sleep diary. There is also a reference book for patients and healthcare professionals.
These aim to help people to change their understanding and behaviour around sleep. They contain information about strategies for sleeping better, such as ‘sleep hygiene’ (good habits that help us get to sleep). There are also exercises based on cognitive behavioural therapy. They also include advice about identifying and managing common sleep disorders.
For their study, the team introduced these resources on seven wards. This resulted in the number of sleeping tablets being prescribed on these wards dropping by almost a quarter (24 per cent). Staff said that they felt more confident about helping people sleep better without needing to use medications.
Alastair Paterson, specialist clinical pharmacist at CNTW and the lead author of the paper, said: “Good sleep is often so hard to get while in hospital. With these Smarter Sleep resources we are working to improve things.
“Our study has shown that these educational resources have been really well-received by staff and patients on the wards. They have helped inpatients to get a better night’s sleep, which is vital for their treatment and recovery.
“We are continuing to develop the resources and roll them out to other wards across the Trust, to help everyone get good sleep while they are under our care.”