Sleep Positioning: The Facts
Why is sleep important?
Sleep is a natural part of all of our lives and something we often take for granted. But sleep is a physiological necessity for us and is vital for the body’s recovery. Physiologically, sleep can affect the immune system as well as cognitive functions such as memory. There is also evidence that poor sleep is associated with the development of diseases including dementia, diabetes and obesity. Sleep quality is therefore of fundamental importance to our health.
Why does sleep positioning matter?
Effective positioning is crucial to maximise the comfort and well-being of a patient and it plays an important role in healing and the prevention of pressure ulcers. Situations where positioning is particularly important include where a patient:
• spends long periods in bed;
• has reduced mobility;
• has, or is at risk of, pressure ulcers;
• requires personal care in bed; or
• is restless or unstable.
Let’s look closer at why positioning has such an impact on a patient’s health. Over time, a horizontal position puts strain on the cardiovascular system and, without muscular activity, blood circulation is impaired. By using specific positioning techniques these problems can be overcome. For example, in a semi-Fowler position there is better lung ventilation and blood circulation.
We can also use good positioning to distribute surface pressure more evenly and therefore reduce the risk of pressure damage. Studies have shown that pressure injuries are much less likely to occur when patient positioning is varied.
Providing support for the musculoskeletal systems is equally important, for example, where a stroke patient requires additional support on the paretic side.
We must also consider care staff. With good positioning, a safer work environment is created as care tasks can be carried out more efficiently, including personal hygiene.
How do we achieve good positioning?
A good position requires the patient’s joints to be in a neutral position, where the joint capsule and ligaments are the least tense. This requires appropriate positioning equipment.
The LEJRELET sleep positioning system is based on the philosophy that good positioning is stable positioning. From stability flows relaxation, reduced tone, improved rest and, ultimately, better healing. Consisting of a core range of four cushions, the LEJRELET system provides a simple but highly effective method of sleep positioning that provides superior support, pressure relief and comfort.
The LEJRELET cushions can be used singly or in combination in several ways. The LEJRELET Wedge is designed to give optimal support to the thorax and pelvis and is excellent for stabilising the body from the front or the back. It can also be used flat to provide an effective 30 degree supine tilt, leaving the sacral area free of pressure.
The LEJRELET Pad High is ideal for supporting the leg or arm in a lateral position for rest or during personal hygiene procedures. The LEJRELET Pad Low can be used flat, coiled, bent or folded to give effective pressure relief to the heels, legs, knees, arms and hands.
The LEJRELET Tube can support the entire body in a very comfortable sidelying position. It can also be used in semi-Fowler position, providing excellent lateral support for those who might slump to one side, perhaps as a result of a neurological condition.
We can conclude that if good positioning in bed is achieved, the patient benefits from improved sleep, with the positive effects discussed above. For more information, please get in touch.