NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders

Sample Answer for NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders Included After Question

NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders


Sleep disorders are conditions that result in changes in an individual’s pattern of sleep (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Not surprisingly, a sleep disorder can affect an individual’s overall health, safety, and quality of life. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can treat sleep disorders with psychopharmacologic treatments, however, many of these drugs can have negative effects on other aspects of a patient’s health and well-being. Additionally, while psychopharmacologic treatments may be able to address issues with sleep, they can also exert potential challenges with waking patterns. Thus, it is important for the psychiatric nurse practitioner to carefully evaluate the best psychopharmacologic treatments for patients that present with sleep/wake disorders.

NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders Reference: 

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Sleep disorders.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, including the Medication Resources indicated for this week.
  • Reflect on the psychopharmacologic treatments you might recommend for the assessment and treatment of patients with sleep/wake disorders.

The Assignment: 5 pages

NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders
NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders

Examine Case Study: Pharmacologic Approaches to the Treatment of Insomnia in a Younger Adult. You will be asked to make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this patient. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point, you should evaluate all options before selecting your decision and moving throughout the exercise. Before you make your decision, make sure that you have researched each option and that you evaluate the decision that you will select. Be sure to research each option using the primary literature.

Introduction to the case (1 page)

  • Briefly explain and summarize the case for this Assignment. Be sure to include the specific patient factors that may impact your decision making when prescribing medication for this patient.


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Decision #1 (1 page)

  • Which decision did you select?
  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #2 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #3 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Conclusion (1 page)

  • Summarize your recommendations on the treatment options you selected for this patient. Be sure to justify your recommendations and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

Note: Support your rationale with a minimum of five academic resources. While you may use the course text to support your rationale, it will not count toward the resource requirement. You should be utilizing the primary and secondary literature.

Reminder : The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting.

The patient, in this case, is a 31-year-old man with insomnia. The condition began six months ago after the sudden death of his wife. He is employed as a forklift operator at a local chemical company, but his health condition has affected his ability to perform his work. The patient claims that he has utilized diphenhydramine for sleeping in the past, but he does not like how he feels the next morning after using the medication. According to the patient’s prior physician’s medical record, he was abusing opiates after injuring his ankle in a skiing accident. The patient’s previous physician prescribed him hydrocodone/APAP (acetaminophen) for acute pain management after the accident. For four years, the individual has not received a prescription for an opiate analgesic. He points out that he has recently consumed approximately four beers to help him fall asleep. The patient is attentive and aware of the person talking to him, location, time, and incident. He maintains eye contact and is dressed appropriately for the season. All aspects of judgment, insight, and reality contact remain intact. The man also denies any suicidal ideas and is focused on the future.

Decision One

                The treatment should start with Trazodone 10 mg daily at bedtime. Trazodone has been approved as an effective treatment for insomnia. The medicine is effective in lower doses in treating primary and secondary insomnia. Due to its generic availability, the medication is less expensive than newer insomnia medications. Trazodone can also be an effective sleep aid when taken in lower doses. The other reason for selecting the medication is that it is not addictive compared to other insomnia medications such as benzodiazepine class medication such as Valium and Xanax (Yi et al, 2018). The medication can also help the patient improve slow wave sleep, and the medication also has fewer side effects than most of the other medications used in treating insomnia.

There are various reasons why Zolpidem was not selected. The medication can result in severe allergic reactions in some patients. The various signs of allergic reaction due to the medication include swelling of the face and difficulty in breathing. The other reason is that the sedative effect of the medication is stronger than the other available options. The medication can also make a patient experience severe dizziness and drowsiness, resulting in falls, accidents, and severe injuries. Considering the nature of the patient’s work, the medication is not a good option because it can result in daytime drowsiness and dizziness, making the patient not conduct his job effectively. The medication can also result in a high level of aggressiveness and extroversion that is abnormal compared to the patient’s usual behavior (Jung, 2018). Considering that the patient has confirmed that he takes alcohol, Zolpidem cannot be used in the treatment process because the patient can experience auditory and visual hallucinations associated with strange behavior due to alcohol toxicity. Hydroxyzine 50mg was also not selected due to various. One of the main reasons is that the medication has a high side effects profile compared to Trazodone. The medication can also lead to daytime sedation, affecting how the patient will perform at work. Hydroxyzine can also result in various side effects such as skin rash, fast heartbeat, difficulty in swallowing, and chest discomfort (Silvestro, 2021).

From the treatment process, I expect that Trazodone will effectively treat the patient’s condition, and he will be able to sleep well. The patient experience an erection, which will last for approximately 15 minutes as a side effect of the medication. Ethical consideration will positively impact the treatment plan and when communicating with the patient. For instance, every decision and action that I will take will be for the fulfillment of the obligation to provide optimal care to the patient.

Decision Two

Explaining to the patient that an erection that lasts for approximately 15 minutes that he is experiencing is not priapism and should end over time, and he should continue taking the current dose. I choose this decision because the medication effectively treats insomnia, and the patient has enough sleep at night. Continuing with the current dose is also important because the patient is not experiencing any severe side effects apart from the prolonged erections and priapism due to its adrenergic blocking activity.

I did not select the decision to discontinue Trazodone and initiate treatment with suvorexant 1o mg at bedtime daily because of various reasons. Trazodone effectively treated the patient’s condition, and the patient did not experience any side effects; hence, changing the medication will negatively impact the treatment process. Initiating treatment with suvorexant is not a good decision. The medication is associated with various side effects such as next-day drowsiness and agitation. There is also limited evidence supporting the safety of using suvorexant in treating insomnia. The medication can cause the patient to become less alert during the day and feel drowsiness, headache, and dizziness. The medication can also result in memory problems or confusion. The patient can experience disturbed sleep as a side effect and have various experiences such as abnormal dreams, nightmares, and hallucinations. The medication can also cause the patient to experience sleep paralysis or even walk in their sleep.

Decreasing the current trazodone dose to 25 mg daily at bedtime is also not a good decision because the current dose of the medication was effective in treating the patient’s condition. Dose reduction can only be implemented when the patient is experiencing severe side effects due to the medication or it is too expensive for the patient to purchase the current dose of the medication (Yi et al, 2018). Considering the effectiveness of the current dose of Trazodone, reducing the dose can reduce the medication’s efficiency in treating insomnia or slow down the treatment process. I expect the patient to experience a further decrease in priapism from the treatment approach, and insomnia will also decrease. In this case, ethical consideration will ensure that I avoid causing harm to the patient.

Decision Three

                The patient should continue with the current dose, and he may split the 50mg tablet into two. Decreasing the dose will help in reducing next-day drowsiness. In order to reduce the side effects of the medication, it is crucial to reduce the current dose to a lower dose considering that the medication is effective and the patient is getting better. Taking a lower dose of Trazodone is proven to be similarly effective than a higher dose, with appreciably fewer adverse effects such as decreased drowsiness and potentially improved quality of life.

The decision to discontinue Trazodone and initiate treatment with sonata 10 mg administered during bedtime is not good. This is because Trazadone has been effective in managing the patient’s condition. Initiating therapy with sonata 10 mg will is not a good decision considering the patient operates a vehicle in the chemical industry. This is because one of the major side effects of the sonata is lack of coordination which can lead to an accident, especially when an individual is driving. Other side effects of the medication that can reduce the patient’s quality of life include dizziness, drowsiness, and short-term memory loss. Another reason why treatment with sonata should not be initiated is that the medication is habit forming and can lead to dependency and can also be abused (Reeve & Bailes, 2010). Due to its habit-forming characteristics, it is not advisable to use the medication in long-term treatment, and it has not been proven to be effective in treating patients with long-term insomnia. Considering the patient has a history of alcohol consumption, the medication is not the best option and can result in various withdrawal symptoms if the patient suddenly stops using it.

The decision to discontinue Trazadone and start treatment with hydroxyzine 50 mg at bedtime is also not advisable. Hydroxyzine cannot be clinically significant to the patient considering the medication has a comparatively long half-life of approximately 20 hours (Schiffman et al, 2011). This will result in daytime sedation after sleeping at night. The medication also has a high side effect profile compared to the low side effect profile of Trazodone. Introducing hydroxyzine can also result in other adverse side effects such as Xerostomia and Xerophthalmia.

From the treatment approach, I expect the patient condition to become better after another four weeks of using the medication. Priapism will also diminish completely, and the level of drowsiness will decrease because the patient will be using a lower dose than the initial dose. Ethical consideration will be crucial in the treatment process and communication with the patient because it will allow me to minimize the medication’s harm to the patient and focus on promoting good health (Haddad, 2018).






NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders References

Haddad, L. M., & Geiger, R. A. (2018). Nursing ethical considerations.

Jaffer, K. Y., Chang, T., Vanle, B., Dang, J., Steiner, A. J., Loera, N., … & Ishak, W. W. (2017). Trazodone for insomnia: a systematic review. Innovations in clinical neuroscience14(7-8), 24.

Jung, M. (2018). Zolpidem overdose: a dilemma in mental health. The Health Care Manager37(1), 86-89.

Reeve, K., & Bailes, B. (2010). Insomnia in adults: Etiology and management. The journal for nurse practitioners6(1), 53-60.

Schiffman, J., Davis, M., Pierre, J., & Saunders, C. S. (2011). Hydroxyzine: rational choice for inpatients with insomnia. Current Psychiatry10(3), 88-89.

Silvestro, S. (2021). Hydroxyzine (Vistaril): dosage, uses, side effects. Drugs.

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A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders

Title: NURS 6630 Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep Disorders

Assessing and Treating Patients with Sleep/Wake Disorders  













Assessing and Treating Patients with Sleep/Wake Disorders  

Insomnia is a mental disorder that affects significantly the health, wellbeing, and functioning of the patients. Therefore, this paper examines a case study of a 31-year-old male that presents with chief complaint of insomnia. The patient reported that the insomnia has worsened progressively over the last six months. The problem started about six months ago after his fiancé passed on. Insomnia has affected his ability to perform at his job as a forklift operator. The patient has a history of using diphenhydramine to enhance sleep but did not like what he felt the morning after, as he fallen asleep because of lack of sleep the night before. The patient’s history also shows that he has opiate abuse after breaking his ankle where he was prescribed acetaminophen for pain management. However, he has not received an opiate prescription for the last four years.   

The patient also has a history of alcohol use to induce sleep. He drinks about four beers before bed. Mental status exam performed on the patient showed that he was oriented to place, time, person, and event. He made eye contact, dressed appropriately for the occasion, denied hallucinations, with judgement, insight, and reality being intact. He also denied suicidal ideation and future oriented. Therefore, the patient factors that will affect the selected treatment include his age, experience with diphenhydramine, opiate abuse, and alcohol use. The selected treatments should not predispose him to unwanted outcomes such as poor performance at workplace, dependence, or increased use of alcohol to manage insomnia symptoms.  

Decision 1 

Selected Decision  

Zolpidem: 10 mg daily at bedtime  

Why I Selected the Decision  

I selected Zolpidem for the patient because of its high level of tolerance and efficacy in managing insomnia and minimal residual effects. According to Xiang et al., (2021), Zolpidem is highly effective in increasing the total sleep time, reducing sleep latency, and enhancing sleep quality in patients suffering from insomnia disorder. Clinical trials have also demonstrated that Zolpidem has a high efficacy level in improving wake after sleep onset, which enhances the performance and productivity of the patients affected by insomnia disorder (Inoue et al., 2022). In another study, zolpidem was found to increase patients’ ability to sleep within 30 minutes, eliminate troubles they experience staying awake during daytime, and remaining motivated to get things done (Asok et al., 2019). The effectiveness was high as compared to placebo and use of other agents to enhance sleep.  

Why the Other Two were not Selected? 

I did not select the decision to initiate the patient on Trazodone 50 mg PO at bedtime because it is not the first-line drug of choice for insomnia. Instead, it is recommended for patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to manage their associated insomnia (Cuomo et al., 2019). I did not select the decision to start the patient with Hydroxyzine 50 mg daily at bedtime. This is because it is a histamine H1 blocker, which the patient reported having a negative experience with it (Sharma et al., 2019). Its administration is likely to affect treatment adherence, hence, the lack of realization of the desired outcomes.  

What I was Hoping to Achieve 

I was hoping to achieve improvements in sleep quality, latency, after night performance, and functioning in the patient. This is largely attributed to the effects of zolpidem on sleep. I was also hoping to see the patient tolerating the selected treatment (Xiang et al., 2021).   

Ethical Considerations  

The ethical consideration that informed the adopted decision is the principle of beneficence and non-maleficence. Psychiatric mental health nurses should adopt treatments associated with minimal harm and optimum patient benefits. As a result, zolpidem has more benefits than harm as compared to the given options (Xiang et al., 2021).  

Decision 2 

Selected Decision  

Discontinue zolpidem and initiate therapy with Trazodone 50-100 mg daily at bedtime.  

Why I Selected the Decision  

The decision to discontinue zolpidem and initiate therapy with trazodone 50-100 mg daily at bedtime was adopted. This is because the patient returned to the clinic with complains that suggested that he developed adverse effects associated with zolpidem. Accordingly, he reports that he felt knocked out, waking up in the middle of the night and cooking breakfast and having no recollection of the occurrence, and taking the medication with beer right before bedtime to get sleep. As shown by Asok et al., (2019), these are some of the unwanted side effects of zolpidem. Trazodone would be the best drug of choice at this time. According to Pochiero et al., (2022), Trazodone is an off-label drug that is used in treating acute cases of insomnia because of its high affinity for alpha 1 and serotonin 2A receptors that regulate sleep. The long-term use of trazodone is associated with improved sleep complaints and enhanced cognitive and functional scores among patients suffering from insomnia (La et al., 2019). Therefore, it makes it an effective drug to manage insomnia symptoms for the patient.  

Why the Other Two were not Selected? 

I did not select the decision to decrease zolpidem to 5 mg daily at bedtime because the client demonstrated symptoms of adverse reaction to the drug. Its continued administration is associated with the increased risk of worsening symptoms and poor treatment adherence. I did not select the decision to discontinue zolpidem and initiate eszopiclone 1 mg daily at bedtime because it has a high risk of symptom relapse as well as studies demonstrating high efficacy when used in elderly patients (Liang et al., 2019).  

What I was Hoping to Achieve  

I was hoping to eliminate the adverse effects the patient developed towards zolpidem. I was also hoping to improve his sleep quality, eliminate night awakening, and improve his daily functioning. I was also hoping to improve his overall tolerance to the treatment (Cuomo et al., 2019).  

Ethical Considerations  

The ethical consideration that informed the above decision is utilizing evidence-based data to ensure safety and efficiency in treating mental health disorders. Psychiatric mental health nurses should adopt evidence-based decisions to minimize potentials of patient harm. As a result, the decision to change the treatment aimed at eliminating further risks associated with zolpidem in insomnia treatment (Xiang et al., 2021).  

Decision 3 

Selected Decision  

Continue dose. Explain to patient he may split the 50 mg table in half. The decreased dose should minimize next day drowsiness. Follow up in 4 weeks.  

Why I Selected the Decision  

The client returned to the clinic in 2 weeks. He reported that trazodone is effective at 50 mg dose. However, he wakes up sometimes the following day with next-day drowsiness. He denies any auditory or visual hallucinations and is future oriented. These findings demonstrate the Trazodone has been effective in managing symptoms associated with insomnia. The patient denies night awakening and failing to recollect his experiences. He also does not take the drug with beer to enhance sleep quality. The next-day drowsiness is an expected finding because of the effect of the current dosage of trazodone (Cuomo et al., 2019). As a result, an effective solution would be to split the 50 mg tablet in half to minimize the next day drowsiness.  

Why the Other Two were not Selected? 

The decision to discontinue trazodone, initiate therapy with sonata 10 mg nightly at bedtime and following up in 4 weeks was not selected because trazodone had demonstrated the desired treatment outcomes. There was improvement in symptoms translating into no need to initiate the patient on a new drug. Similarly, the decision to discontinue trazodone and initiate therapy with hydroxyzine 50 mg at bedtime and following up in 4 weeks was not selected since trazodone had shown its effectiveness and efficacy. In addition, the patient has negative experience with diphenhydramine, which translate into a similar effect with hydroxyzine (Inoue et al., 2022).  

What I was Hoping to Achieve  

I was hoping to see sustained improvement in insomnia symptoms. I was also hoping that the patient will report minimal side effects associated with trazodone. Splitting the tablet into half was also expected to address the issue of next-day sleepiness (Cuomo et al., 2019).  

Ethical Considerations  

Ethical considerations such as justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence could have affected the adopted treatments. Accordingly, psychiatric mental health nurses demonstrate justice in their practice by ensuring confidentiality and privacy of the patient’s data. In addition, they ensure the adopted treatments are not harmful and aim at doing for their patients. Therefore, a violation of any of these principles would affect treatment outcomes.  


In conclusion, the initially adopted treatment to begin the patient with zolpidem was ineffective. The patient demonstrated signs and symptoms of adverse reactions to zolpidem. This increased the need for the adoption trazodone to minimize the adverse and side effects while improving the symptoms of insomnia. The decision to begin the patient with zolpidem and not trazodone is that trazodone is largely used in patients with insomnia associated with other disorders. The selection of trazodone proved effective for the patient. There was the elimination of night awakening, feeling knocked out, and having to add beer to enhance his sleep quality. The patient reported feeling sleepy the following day, which necessitated the splitting of the Trazodone 50 mg table into half to address it (Cuomo et al., 2019). This decision led to further improvement in insomnia symptoms and drug tolerance, hence, the effectiveness of the decision. 

Ethical considerations informed the patient’s treatment. Accordingly, the decisions made aimed at ensuring the promotion of safety, efficiency, and quality in the treatment process. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner made the decisions with the aim of optimizing benefits while minimizing the potential harm the selected drugs had on the patient. In addition, the principles of justice, autonomy, and beneficence, and non-maleficence informed the decisions made in the case study. For example, by minimizing harm, the nurse ensured the principle of non-maleficence. The use of evidence-based interventions in decision-making aimed at doing good for the patients (Xiang et al., 2021). Therefore, ethics guided the selected decisions in the patient’s treatment.  



Asok, A., Sreekumar, S., TK, R., CC, A., P, U. D., & K, P. (2019). Effectiveness of zolpidem and sleep hygiene counseling in the treatment of insomnia in solid tumor patients. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice, 25(7), 1608–1612. 

Cuomo, A., Ballerini, A., Bruni, A. C., Decina, P., Sciascio, G. D., Fiorentini, A., Scaglione, F., Vampini, C., & Fagiolini, A. (2019). Clinical guidance for the use of trazodone in major depressive disorder and concomitant conditions: Pharmacology and clinical practice. Rivista di Psichiatria, 54(4), 137–149. 

Inoue, Y., Nishida, M., Kubota, N., Koebis, M., Taninaga, T., Muramoto, K., Ishikawa, K., & Moline, M. (2022). Comparison of the treatment effectiveness between lemborexant and zolpidem tartrate extended release for insomnia disorder subtypes defined based on polysomnographic findings. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 

La, A. L., Walsh, C. M., Neylan, T. C., Vossel, K. A., Yaffe, K., Krystal, A. D., Miller, B. L., & Karageorgiou, E. (2019). Long-Term Trazodone Use and Cognition: A Potential Therapeutic Role for Slow-Wave Sleep Enhancers. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 67(3), 911–921. 

Liang, L., Huang, Y., Xu, R., Wei, Y., Xiao, L., & Wang, G. (2019). Eszopiclone for the treatment of primary insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Sleep Medicine, 62, 6–13. 

Pochiero, I., Gorini, M., Comandini, A., Calisti, F., Loreto, G. D., Cattaneo, A., Knight, T., Anastassopoulos, K. P., Patel, R., Baik, R., & Bruni, O. (2022). Real-World Characteristics and Treatment Patterns of Patients With Insomnia Prescribed Trazodone in the United States. Clinical Therapeutics, 44(8), 1093–1105. 

Sharma, M. K., Kainth, S., Kumar, S., Bhardwaj, A., Agarwal, H. K., Maiwall, R., Jamwal, K. D., Shasthry, S. M., Jindal, A., Choudhary, A., Anand, L., Dhamija, R. M., Kumar, G., Sharma, B. C., & Sarin, S. K. (2019). Effects of zolpidem on sleep parameters in patients with cirrhosis and sleep disturbances: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Clinical and Molecular Hepatology, 25(2), 199–209. 

Xiang, T., Cai, Y., Hong, Z., & Pan, J. (2021). Efficacy and safety of Zolpidem in the treatment of insomnia disorder for one month: A meta-analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Sleep Medicine, 87, 250–256.