Waiting at a hospital for a loved one can take a long time. In the dreaded waiting room, it can be difficult to completely relax and get some sleep. In cases like this, you will want to be prepared.
The first challenge is the hospital chair. With limited space, it can be a bit awkward to sleep on. Most waiting rooms only have chairs for visitors. If you’re lucky, some have couches. Here are some tips on how to sleep in the waiting room.
How to Sleep in a Hospital Waiting Room
1. Find a couch or comfy chair
Ask the receptionist if there is a couch available. You might get lucky! If there aren’t any, search for a comfy chair. Find a chair that looks most comfortable. Although most chairs may look the same, some might be more worn out than others.
2. Find a safe area
Make sure the chair is in a safe area away from lots of people walking by. The corner of the room might be the safest and most quiet.
3. Use a neck pillow
Neck pillows help support and steady the neck to give you a better sleep. Proper neck support is one of the most important things to stay comfortable and have a good rest.
4. Elevate your legs
Find something to elevate or rest your feet on. You can use a stool, table, or pretty much anything that can help raise your feet. If you have an extra pillow, then you can put that under your feet for additional support. Elevating the legs helps to relax the body since it improves blood circulation.
5. Wrap yourself in a blanket
Don’t forget to bring a blanket with you. You need one to keep you warm since most hospital waiting rooms have air-conditioning that runs all night. A blanket can also protect you from bugs.
6. Turn off your phone
Your phone can be a big distraction. Turning it off not only removes any un-wanted calls and texts, but also electromagnetic fields that may disturb your sleep.
7. Dim the lights
Close the drapes to prevent sunlight from coming in. Turn off the television or put away gadgets so that your eyes can rest easy.
8. Wear comfortable clothes
Wearing comfortable or loose-fitting clothes like pajamas can help you prepare mentally to doze off. Remove your jewelry, glasses, belts, ties, girdle, or anything that might make you uncomfortable during the night. Just because you’re on a chair doesn’t mean you can’t change into bedtime gear.
9. Drink herbal tea or warm milk
A warm drink will help you relax when you sleep. It will also keep you stay hydrated. Dairy products have a large amount of amino acid tryptophan, which induces sleep brain chemicals: serotonin and melatonin.
10. Wash up
Brush your teeth, wash your face, and even take a bath if possible. These things will keep you from itching or feel any discomfort when you sleep. Plus, everyone likes to sleep feeling clean.
Stay relaxed when you cannot fall asleep right away. Avoid overthinking and try to at least read a good book or listen to calming music.
12. Avoid stimulants
Avoid coffee, cigarettes, and alcoholic drinks. These are stimulants that may prevent falling asleep.
13. Bring a big bag with you
Put all your necessities in it for organization and security. Inside the bag, bring some water to stay hydrated. Never forget to bring a jacket and a blanket (the larger, the better) to keep you warm. If you like reading, bring a book with you so that you can read while waiting and before you sleep. Also, bring medicine for a headache.
14. Eat some snacks
It’s easy to eat something when you’re waiting, so don’t just rely on vending machines; otherwise, they’ll be eating your money instead. Prepare something easy to digest and nutritious. Something light will put your mind at ease and help you relax. Avoid sugary foods that will keep you awake and alert.
15. Bring your toothbrush and toothpaste
You don’t want to talk to others with bad breath, and you never know how long you have to stay there.
16. Bring deodorant
After sleeping, put some deodorant on so that others don’t have to endure a bad smell.
17. Bring your own comfy chair
If you are planning to bring your own chair to rest on, bring one that is easy to carry, and one that allows you to lay back and support your head.
Try to relax every muscle of your body and focus on your breathing. Even if you can’t fully sleep, meditating will help calm you down and get some much needed rest.
19. Use noise-cancelling headphones
Block out all noise so that you can easily drift off to sleep.
20. Notify the receptionist
Ask the receptionist to keep you updated on whoever you’re there for.
Things You Shouldn’t Do in a Hospital Waiting Room
Just like with all places, there are some dos and don’ts that you should be aware of. Here are some of the don’ts when visiting a loved one at the hospital.
- Don’t take up too much space. If the waiting room is busy, be courteous to others.
- Avoid going to the hospital if you are sick. If you have a cough, fever, cold, flu, you should rest and not come. It will be especially hard to fall asleep if you have bad cold and your are in an unfamiliar place.
- Don’t stay for too long. The patient needs to rest, and you can always visit the next day.
- Don’t use hospital pillows and blankets without asking. Patients may need them so always ask for permission before using something from the hospital.
How to Stay Calm in a Hospital Waiting Room
If a loved one is in the hospital, it is unavoidable to worry and be anxious for them. We gather ourselves together and rush to the hospital as fast as we can. Here are some tips on how you can stay calm while waiting for your loved one.
- Always be aware of the patient’s situation. Ask the doctor of your loved one’s current condition and the procedures needed to be done to the patient so you can feel assured too. Ask them to notify you of any updates, and to wake you if you fall asleep.
- Process the situation slowly and be optimistic. It is never helpful to think negatively. Your positive energy can make your loved one feel much better.
- Talk with others around you. Other may also be staying in the waiting room for a long time. Friendly conversation can put you at ease and feel more secure.
It is stressful to have a loved one in a hospital in so many ways, financially, emotionally, and mentally.
It is no secret that sleeping outside your comfort zone (bedroom) is difficult, especially when it is in a hospital. Yet, being prepared is crucial. Just remember the many tips mentioned above, as these are some of the helpful ways that can help you sleep much better and more comfortably in a hospital waiting room.