How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital – 7 Tips to Help You Sleep

how to sleep in a noisy hospital

Hospital stays the very words fill most of us with dread. Regardless of why you are in the hospital. How to sleep in a noisy hospital is something we can all be prepared for.

Noise in a hospital is not something new and I am sure for most of us can be a major concern before our hospital stays. Below I will give you a quick answer. Please read on after that because you will pick up a few new ideas that you may not have considered.

You should bring to the hospital a bag with some of your “comforts from home”. Including clothing, rug, slippers, soap, eye mask, herbal tea and lavender scents to help you relax. Entertainment music, books, and magazines. Lastly, try to stay awake during the day and not nap as this could inhibit your sleep at night.

Before we take a look at my 7 tips I want to address where you will be sleeping. My tips are directed at those patients who are set up in a shared or private room hospital room.

If you are in the ICU or have just undergone surgery you should probably expect to be woken quite regularly as the staff will be monitoring your vitals closely. As you will be most likely to full of pain medication you will not be wanting to do much more than sleep at this time.

How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital – 7 Tips to Help You Sleep

1. Comforts From Home

Surrounding yourself with your own personal treasures from home especially if you are having a long stay is comforting.

Clothing such as pajamas, robe, and slippers will make you feel better. Be aware that you may have to stay in a hospital gown for a while after the surgery.

Taking a loose-fitting tracksuit or similar to wear during the day, it is nice to get out of your pajamas for a while.

Take your own pillow and a blanket, as well as an eye mask to keep the light out. You can also ask the staff not to turn the light on at night when checking on you. I have seen the night staff use small torches so as not to disturb patients.

You may also consider different styles of pillows to help you get comfortable. Body pillows, lumbar wedges for your lower back or horseshoe pillows

Herbal tea for relaxation and to keep that caffeine intake low. The lavender essential oil is good on or under your pillow to help you relax.

Books and magazines are great for reading at night as they are less stimulating that electronic devices or television.

2. How to Sleep in a Hospital Bed

You will need assistance with the positioning of the bed, pillows, and wedges.

If you have trouble sleeping on your back you could try sleeping with the head of the bed elevated at a 45-degree angle. It is very comfortable.

You must remember there could be some restrictions depending on why you are in the hospital. If you have had surgery this will be a consideration as you will be closely monitored and may need to stay in a certain position.

3. Watch What You Eat

We all know that when we are bored some of us reach for comfort food.

Even if you haven’t bought your own treats you can guarantee that some visitors will not arrive with flowers to cheer you up.

Some will arrive with all those little feel-good treats such as chocolate and candies. Maybe even cupcakes or donuts.

Sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices can have the same effect, so limit these as well.

Just remember that sugary treats have the same effect on the body as caffeine.

They will keep you awake. So enjoy your lovely gifts from family and friends just try to restrict the amount you eat in the late afternoon and evening.

If coffee and tea is your thing I would not drink any from mid-afternoon onwards.

Reach into you “comforts from home” and have herbal teas from mid-afternoon.

4. Keep Yourself Entertained

Hospital television can be very limiting as far as choice goes. Especially late at night when you need to get your mind off not sleeping, you do not want to get even more frustrated by what is available to entertain you.

This is where you can arrive at the hospital prepared with personal DVD players, smartphones, IPads and small laptops. On these devices, you can watch your movies, youtube, listen to audiobooks, catch up on podcasts or Netflicks.

If movies are your thing you are going to be in seventh heaven with all this time available to you to catch up on all the flicks you haven’t seen. Alternatively, all the flicks you love – watch them again.

Most hospitals offer free wifi. If they don’t and you are going down the personal device route bring your own internet connection.

For those of you who are not savvy with some of the new technology ask a younger family member or a friend to assist in getting set up. Take my word for it techies love assisting those who are not familiar with all that is new and exciting.

If you intend to use devices like computers, IPads, smartphones to assist in relaxing/entertaining you in a hospital you should install a blue light filter.  These have been designed specifically for night use. Once again if you need to enlist the help of a loved one or friend to help you download one for you.

You should also give yourself plenty of screen-free time. You can do this by reading books or magazines. You can even tackle a crossword, sudoku or even get yourself one of those beautiful adult coloring books.

5. Avoiding the Noise Around You

Shut the door

Ask for your door to be closed.


Earplugs are awesome as they drown out the noise, you can even put headphones over the earplugs for a double drown out.

MP3, Smart Phone, IPad

Use any or all of these devices to keep the noise out. You can play soft music or even listen to an audiobook. If a voice is soothing enough you will most certainly get some sleep during the night.

White Noise

Download a white noise app onto one of your devices.

Noise Canceling Headphones

These headphones are designed to create inverse sound waves that cancel out the noise.

Private Room

If you are in a shared room and your roommate snores or is just noisy. Talking on their telephone, watching television or just generally inconsiderate maybe a different room is an option.

Ask the staff if there are any private rooms available. You should make it clear that you really are struggling to sleep due to the noise. Those who do not ask do not receive the worst that can happen is that no private room is available.

6. Medication for Sleeping

Noise at night in hospitals is a given so if you have done everything you can to sleep and cannot I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for medication for sleeping.

You can also ask for a medication review to make sure you are not being given any medication before bed that could inhibit sleep. If you are maybe it could be changed around so you take in the morning instead of the evening.

7. Approaching Staff For Assistance

Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance while you are in the hospital. Whether it is asking for medication, doors to be closed, lights not to be turned on during the night, getting your bed in a position you find comfortable or requesting a private room.

These wonderful professionals understand that this is a difficult time for most of us.

They will be more than happy to make you as comfortable as you can possibly be.

Conclusion – How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital – 7 Tips to Help You Sleep

You should prepare yourself for very little uninterrupted sleep if you are in the ICU or after surgery as you will be monitored closely.

Remember to try to stay awake as much as possible during the day if it is night time sleep you are after. This can be difficult if you are taking medication. If that is the case just sleep when it comes.

Be prepared to quietly entertain yourself throughout the night.

If you are in a position where you can be organized for your hospital stay it will certainly help you get more sleep. If for some reason you have landed in a hospital at short notice so sorry. 🙁

The words noise and hospitals generally go hand in hand. It is my hope that you or maybe a loved one will come across this article and assist you with some of my tips.

Related Article

How Can I Sleep Better After Surgery?

I have prepared an article all about how to avoid sleep problems after surgery which will give you plenty of tips to prepare you for sleeping after surgery.

As always here’s to better sleep!

How to Sleep in a Noisy Hospital

By Michelle D.

Meet Michelle, founder of Tip Top Sleep, a website dedicated to helping you achieve the best sleep possible. With over 50 years of combined experience in the realm of sleep, Michelle and her team provide easy-to-follow tips and strategies to help you feel better, function better, and live better through optimal sleep. Let us help you prioritize your sleep and discover the power of a good night's rest.