A state-registered nurse acted as a whole-time investigator following patients through the pre-operative night in hospital and questioning them in the morning, to assess the relative merits of different medications. Two new sedatives were compared with a standard barbiturate and a placebo, and information was collected from patients who elected to have no medication to help them sleep. Subjective assessment enabled the placebo to be distinguished from the active medications, although there was little difference between these. The importance of psychological factors is discussed in relation to those patients who had no medication.
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