Effect of Using Eye Mask on Sleep Quality in Cardiac Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Sleep is a basic need for the human beings. High quality sleep is associated with better recovery from diseases (). Sleep disorders are common in patients hospitalized in Coronary Care Units (CCU) (). These disorders are associated with environmental factors such as noises, intervention-related pain and discomfort. Moreover, the psychological stress of having a life-threatening disease and disease complications may put patients at risk for development of sleep disorders (, ). The results of a study conducted in Shahrekord, Iran showed that about 51% of patients with congestive heart failure suffer from sleep disorders ().

Sleep disorders can be associated with cardiovascular problems such as increased blood pressure and heart rate (). Consequently, improving sleep quality in cardiac patients is a matter of great importance. Sedative and hypnotic medications can significantly increase the sleep quality. However, pharmacological agents are usually associated with different side-effects (). Complementary therapies including aromatherapy, muscle relaxation, and using eye mask and earplug can also improve the sleep quality without causing serious side-effects (, , ).

Eye mask, also called sleeping mask, is a device made from fabric that is intended to cover both eyes. The device has an elasticated strap that holds the mask on patients head. It is designed to keep all incoming light away from patient’s eyes and to induce a state of pure darkness (, ). Using eye mask is one of the nursing interventions that can improve patients’ sleep quality through decreasing the environment lights (). However, research findings about the effectiveness of eye mask in improving sleep quality are conflicting. Jones and Dawson (), Daneshmandi et al. () and Koo and Koh () found that eye mask enhanced sleep quality among cardiac patients. However, Bourne et al. found that patient willingness to use eye masks and/or earplugs was very low, which limits their routine clinical application (). Arab et al. also found that eye mask enhanced some domains of sleep quality, but had no effect on other dimensions of sleep ().

As mentioned above, there are inconsistent results about the effect of eye mask on patients’ sleep quality. Therefore, further studies are necessary to provide sufficient evidence in this area.

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