Sleep is a fundamental need in life. Not getting enough sleep can make us cranky, sick, and impatient. Depending on your job, that lack of a good night's sleep can be detrimental to your professional performance and stamina.
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Nurses spend their days caring for others, often holding erratic schedules that make establishing a healthy sleep routine difficult. However, due to the nature of their jobs, nurses need that healthy night’s sleep to maintain not only their own health but also the health of their patients.
Here are a few tips to help you find your healthy sleep routine!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise leads to better sleep. Although you are running around all day caring for patients, adding regular exercise into your routine is beneficial for you. Doing so will not only help you to relieve stress and develop personal time for yourself, but it will also help prepare your body for a better night sleep.
Your sleeping space should be restful and conducive to healthy sleep. Screens bring light into your space, which interferes with our ability to sleep. Screens also keep us engaged, preventing our brains from going into a restful space. If you are a nurse who is working night shifts and trying to find sleep during the day, add blackout curtains to your bedroom to block any extra light from interfering with your cycle.
Establish a Routine
Routines train our bodies to sleep at certain times. Do what you can to create a steady routine. If you are switching between day and night shifts, find a routine pattern you can transfer between shifts.
Nursing is stressful. Find a way to wind down after your shift that allows you to switch from nurse-mode to home-mode. Doing so will help create boundaries between your home-work life and relax your body. Once your body is relaxed, it is easier to sleep.
It seems so simple, but not eating properly at regular intervals can cause our bodies to feel hungry in the middle of our sleep cycle. That will wake you up. Take healthy snacks and meals with you to work to refuel periodically through the day. Keep the snacks at your nurse's station if needed.