Sleep promotion in neonatal intensive care units: scoping review

Ana Correia, Margarida Lourenço

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sleep plays a fundamental role in the growth and development of newborns, with their deprivation having many negative effects. The environment of the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) presents itself as disturbing and harmful for the neonatal sleep. Objective: Map the existing scientific evidence regarding the strategies promoting newborn's sleep in the NICU setting. Methodology: Scoping review based on the methodology proposed by the Joanna Briggs Institute, using the following search engines and databases: MEDLINE via PubMed, CINHAL Plus with Full Text and Nursing & Allied Health Collection: Comprehensive via EBSCO-HOST, Academic Search Complete, ScienceDirect and Directory of Open Access Journals via B-ON, LILACS, RCAAP and SciELO. As search limiters, there were defined articles published in the last 5 years (until February 2019), available in Portuguese or in English and in full text. Results: A total of 186 results were listed, and the final sample included 9 studies that responded to the review objective based on the selected inclusion criteria. The sleep-promoting strategies identified refer to the management of the environment in the NICU, the concentration of Nursing care respecting the newborn's sleep-wake cycle, and non-pharmacological interventions such as proper positioning, physical restraint, non-nutritive sucking, Yakson technique, gentle human touch, kangaroo mother care, massage, calm auditory stimuli and remolding mattress. Conclusion: Given the importance of sleep in the newborn's development, the nurse's role is crucial through the implementation of protective and promoting sleep strategies, especially in the NICU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-575
Number of pages15
JournalEnfermeria Global
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Infant
  • Neonatal intensive care units
  • Newborn
  • Nursing
  • Preterm
  • Sleep


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