It is literally impossible to sleep in the hospital. Sure, the first couple of days all I wanted to do was sleep, but that was probably due to the meds. After that, it was a nightmare to try to get any rest. Nurse techs would come in almost every hour to take vitals and if you think that stopped at night, you're wrong. I vaguely remember them worrying about my breathing as I slept and I told my mom (who stayed a night or two with me) to yell at me if she heard me sleeping with my mouth open- haha! My mouth was SO dry (see the post on ice chips) and even though I was on oxygen, it just is not comfortable for me to sleep on my back.
Ugh, nights were the worst. At least during the day there was some more excitement and better TV. I would sleep for 15 minutes, wake up for the nurse, then watch 45 minutes of bad TV, sleep for 15 minutes, be woken up, watch TV...repeat until about 6 or 7am when I would decide it was time to get up and sit in my chair. The hospital bed is NOT comfortable. In fact, it made me get a muscle twinge that was so bad they had the pulmonary doctor make sure it wasn't my lung. One night, every time I got up to go to the bathroom (and I had to be helped up, mind you) I would just grimace and want to cry because it hurt so badly. All I wanted to do was sleep on my stomach, but when you've had abdominal surgery, that just is not an option.
By my last couple of days (out of 11) in the hospital, they had taken me off the majority of my IVs and tubes and monitors. It got to the point where I would unplug my own IV to go to the bathroom and stuff. By that point, they didn't need to check me every hour or even two- I actually got three hours of uninterrupted sleep! Oh heavens! It felt so good. And after almost two weeks of not sleeping well, let me tell you, it was a deep sleep. The kind where you wake up like you've just run a marathon.
Even when I got home I couldn't sleep for more than five or six hours. I had to do a self-administered dose of IV antibiotics every six hours. Do you realize how brutal it is to go to sleep at 10pm, wake up at midnight and reset your alarm for 6am? Wash, rinse, repeat for a week. Finally, three weeks after my appendicitis, I got my picc line* out and was able to sleep a real nights sleep. I almost cried it was so nice.
*The thing in my arm where my IV was connected.
+Title from Smashing Pumpkins