If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep, you’ve got something in common with about 68% of the population. In our over-stressed world, it seems we’re getting less than our allotted 8 hours a night and that can have a huge impact on overall health and well-being. Any nurse who has looked closely at their own nurse self care may well highlight lack of sleep as a problem. The issue with many jobs in healthcare is that they do not run 9 to 5. Nurses can find themselves working long shifts at different times of the day or night. This in itself can impact on the natural sleep cycle and make it difficult to get the required rest.
In the stressful environments that most nurses operate, it’s no surprise that many often suffer ongoing sleep deprivation. Many nurses also just accept this as the norm rather than trying to do something about it.
Nurse Self Care: The Importance of Sleep
- Good sleep means that you wake up feeling refreshed and recharged
- Those who experience poor sleep tend to eat more and are likelier to exhibit signs of obesity
- A bad night’s sleep can impact on concentration and productivity in the workplace
- There is some evidence that poor sleepers are more likely to suffer from heart problems
- If you are at risk of diabetes 2, not getting enough sleep can affect your glucose metabolism
- Lack of sleep can affect your immune system and is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle
Stress can also be a bit factor in sleep problems. Learning to cope with stress is vital if you want to improve your health and well being. Of course, if you’re always working odd shifts, the lack of continuity can also add to your problems.
Nurse Self Care: How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
It is recommended that you get, on average, 8 hours sleep a night. This doesn’t count however, if you are tossing and turning all night and not actually resting. Chances are you’ll wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed.
If you work shifts, the main thing you have to contend with is the changing time of day when you go to bed. We all have a natural sleep rhythm and this can really become unbalanced when working nights and then switching to days. A lot depends on whether you can settle into a routine and what your work schedule is like. It also depends on you as an individual.
- You might, for instance, if you work regular shifts, experiment with the time you go to bed to see what works best for you
- If you’ve been on nights for a while, coming home and having a short sleep and then getting up and going to bed early may help you get back into rhythm
- If you are about to go on your first night shift, having a short sleep beforehand may ensure that you stay alert during the early hours
One major impact for nurses and those working in healthcare is that lack of sleep can lead to lack of concentration. That means mistakes may be made at critical times.
Take your nurse self care seriously and attempt to find solutions rather than continuing to live in a sleep deprived way. The are many great resources online that you can use and adapt to help yourself get a better nights sleep.
Here are just a few to get you started:
- The Sleep Foundation
- How to Get to Sleep
- How to Sleep Better: 10 Tips for Nurses
- 5 Ways to Reduce Stress After a Long Day and Promote Better Sleep at Night
- Hints and Tips for Shift Workers
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