One of the challenges that many nurses face is getting enough sleep.
There are several reasons that could contribute to a lack of beauty rest — work or family demands, stress, even a poor diet. If you experience trouble falling asleep, waking frequently in the night, are having trouble returning to sleep if awakened, or just have too much on your mind to fall asleep, you may have developed a problematic sleep pattern.
Sleep deprivation over time can lead to…
- A weaker immune system
- Difficulty concentrating
- Injuries and mistakes
- Lack of energy
- Reduced performance
- Weight gain
The most common cause of poor sleep involves psychological issues — stress, worry or depression. However, if you are unsure of why you are experiencing sleep trouble, try keeping a sleep journal for 2-3 weeks. Each day record:
- Time when you retired
- Time it took to fall asleep
- Number of times you woke up
- How soundly you slept (on a scale of 1 to 5)
- Activities and feelings you had prior to retiring
- How you felt when you woke up
- What you ate or drank that may have affected your sleep
Once you have identified some cause-and-effect patterns that may be affecting your sleep, make some changes and see if your sleep improves. If you are having sleep difficulties, here are 5 tips that can immediately help you get more rest. Relax. Try calming activities such as light reading, listening to soothing music, taking a hot shower or soaking in a warm bath close to bedtime.
- Be consistent.
Go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day, even on your days off from work.
- Sleep disturbance Prioritize.
Don’t leave activities that make you nervous or frustrated until just before bed. Try doing difficult tasks during the beginning or in the middle of your day. Do 30 minutes or more of exercise sometime during the day, but avoid doing it 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
- Eat well.
Avoid foods high in fat and sugar and instead give your body the nutritious foods it needs to run efficiently. Your best choices are low-fat meats such as chicken breasts and fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts or seeds. All of these tips are within your control. It is simply a matter of making good choices at every opportunity. Remember that when you get enough sleep, you not only look better, but you feel better and think better. Sleep is essential to living well and can improve nurse’s health. Protect your short-and long-term health by making an effort to get a good night’s sleep.