Sleep is a tricky issue for most nurses. With long work hours, overtime, rotating shifts, on-call positions, night shift, sunlight or noise, getting appropriate sleep becomes challenging.
The majority of nurses work in fast-paced, hectic hospital environments, and are expected to be well rested to meet their diverse job responsibilities and ensure the delivery of safe care. They must be alert and able to make quick decisions. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every day. However, it can be difficult for nurses to develop good sleeping habits due to long hours and shift work.
Sleeping difficulty for nurses
Insomnia is a big issue for nurses who work evenings or nights, and those who rotate shifts. This results in poor productivity levels and feeling sleepy while at work. Sleep deprivation occurs because nurses are working contrary to their internal clocks and sleep patterns.
Long shifts or repeated shifts reduce the opportunity for sleep, shorten recovery time in nurses, and therefore affect their safety/health, as well as the quality of care they provide their patients.
Many nurses struggle to maintain a healthy work–life balance, which includes getting the appropriate amount of sleep. However, the benefits of obtaining sufficient, high-quality sleep are so important and positively impact most areas of your life. This includes better cognitive functioning, mood enhancement, increased productivity and decreased risk for multiple health conditions. The effects of prioritising sleep will benefit anyone immensely.
Improving sleeping habits
Make sleep a priority
Create a sleep-wake schedule that works for you and stick to it. Allow changes to your work schedule as needed.
Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
If the sun peeps through the blinds and wake you up before your alarm goes off, hang up some blackout curtains to keep the room dark as long as you need to sleep. Having a white noise machine can also be beneficial if it makes the environment more conducive for sleep.
Ask people not to disturb you
This is especially important if you have a hard time falling asleep or falling back asleep after being woken. You can also have a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on your door, so no disrupts your sleep unintentionally.
Use caffeine wisely
Having caffeinated drinks before or during shifts are suitable but should be avoided at least 6 hours before going home to sleep.
Exercise according to your lifestyle
Exercise reduces stress, helps you sleep more soundly and improves overall health. Choose an exercise plan that fits your lifestyle – whether this is daily 30-minute walks, yoga in the morning before work, or playing a sport that interests you. Find exercises that you enjoy, are easy and that you can stick to.
Plan nutritious meals
Do your meal prep ahead of time to include all the necessary recommended dietary requirements. Eating healthy and allowing the body to absorb proper nutrients provides the brain with the chemical environment that it needs to produce the neurotransmitters that it needs to maintain adequate sleep.
Avoid electronics before bed
It’s easy to hop into bed and take a scroll through Instagram and other social platforms, but this is actually sabotaging your sleep. Studies have shown that even small electronic devices emit enough light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness.
At Clinical24, our nurses are reliable, resilient and dedicated and are able to choose when they want to work. This way, you’re able to rest when you need to and pick-up shifts when you feel back to full energy. Giving you control over both your career and your sleep. Browse through our available shifts and get in touch with one of our consultants today.