Evaluation of Sleep Practices and Knowledge in Neonatal Healthcare

Eline R. de Groot, Mary Anne Ryan, Chanel Sam, Olaf Verschuren, Thomas Alderliesten, Jeroen Dudink, Agnes van den Hoogen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Developmental care is designed to optimize early brain maturation by integrating procedures that support a healing environment. Protecting preterm sleep is important in developmental care. However, it is unclear to what extent healthcare professionals are aware of the importance of sleep and how sleep is currently implemented in the day-to-day care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). PURPOSE: Identifying the current state of knowledge among healthcare professionals regarding neonatal sleep and how this is transferred to practice. METHODS: A survey was distributed among Dutch healthcare professionals. Three categories of data were sought, including (1) demographics of respondents; (2) questions relating to sleep practices; and (3) objective knowledge questions relating to sleep physiology and importance of sleep. Data were analyzed using Spearman's rho test and Cramer's V test. Furthermore, frequency tables and qualitative analyses were employed. RESULTS: The survey was completed by 427 participants from 34 hospitals in 25 Dutch cities. While healthcare professionals reported sleep to be especially important for neonates admitted in the NICU, low scores were achieved in the area of knowledge of sleep physiology. Most healthcare professionals (91.8%) adapted the timing of elective care procedures to sleep. However, sleep assessments were not based on scientific knowledge. Therefore, the difference between active sleep and wakefulness may often be wrongly assessed. Finally, sleep is rarely discussed between colleagues (27.4% regularly/always) and during rounds (7.5%-14.3% often/always). IMPLICATIONS: Knowledge about sleep physiology should be increased through education among neonatal healthcare professionals. Furthermore, sleep should be considered more often during rounds and handovers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in neonatal care : official journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • developmental neonatal care
  • neonate
  • sleep
  • sleep knowledge
  • sleep practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of Sleep Practices and Knowledge in Neonatal Healthcare'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this