01935315031 | office@nursesgroup.co.uk

Why is sleep hygiene important for nurses?

Two nurses and healthcare workers sitting exhausted after long shift hours

Significance of sleep hygiene for nurses

Sleep hygiene is concerned with our daily and nightly activities and how they affect our quality of sleep. Good sleep hygiene can improve both the quality and quantity of our sleep significantly. Sleep hygiene is crucial for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Sleep is essential for everyone and has numerous advantages. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night in early and middle adulthood. A good sleep hygiene routine addresses all of the factors that influence sleep quality, and making changes to your sleep hygiene can improve your sleep significantly.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to a variety of factors that influence our sleep. It's all about what we do during the day and night and how it affects our sleep. It essentially entails preparing your body and environment for a restful night's sleep. Nurses and healthcare workers frequently forget to get enough sleep due to their hectic schedules. Nurses and healthcare professionals work 24 hours a day to care for society, so they forget to make time for sleep and create a conducive environment for a good night's sleep.

Importance of sleep hygiene

Good sleep hygiene can make a significant difference in the quality of your night's sleep and the number of hours you sleep. Poor sleep hygiene will result in sleep disturbances, difficulty falling asleep, or being unable to sleep, all of which will lead to a variety of health problems. When you don't get enough sleep, you can feel mildly tired, lose your focus, and be more likely to have or cause an accident. This is especially concerning for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Furthermore, it can impair healing and repair by impairing the nervous system and brain function, increasing blood pressure and heart rate, and increasing the risk of diabetes.
Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased anxiety, panic attacks, low mood, and depression. All of these factors seriously impair nurses' judgement and make them more likely to be injured or cause someone else to be injured, particularly when working with nursing equipment.

Benefits of good sleep hygiene:

Good sleep hygiene increases the likelihood of restful sleep, which can improve productivity, mental and physical well-being, and overall quality of life. Other advantages include:
1. Improved immune system
2. Boost muscle repair
3. Excellent memory
4. Increased energy level
The amount of sleep nurses get at night has an effect on their overall appearance and personality. This is why nurses and other healthcare workers need to have good sleep habits.

How can you maintain good sleep hygiene?

Bedrooms nowadays serve multiple functions, such as working, playing, eating, and so on; this is a big "no-no" for good sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom a haven for you and your partner, as our subconscious mind is so powerful that when we treat our bedrooms like any other room in our home, we lose that peacefulness. There are few places for adults to escape, so make your bedroom one of them.

How can you improve your sleeping environment?

1. Change the way you use your bedroom; make it solely for sleeping and avoid all other activities there.
2. Ensure that the temperature in your bedroom is comfortable for you and your bed partner. You will not be able to sleep properly if it is too cold or too hot.
3. Minimize light intrusion. When you sleep, your bedroom should be dark so that your body can produce melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep induction.
4. Avoid making too much noise in your sleeping space. Play relaxing music.

What should you not do before bedtime?

It is best to avoid certain things before bedtime in order to develop good sleep hygiene, and they are:
1. Minimal or no alcohol: If you want to drink alcohol, do so at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. A nice glass of wine can help you relax, but only for a short time. You may fall asleep at first, but you will have to get up to urinate or once the sedative effects of alcohol wear off, affecting the quality of your sleep. As a result, it is preferable to limit liquid consumption before going to bed.
2. Avoid exercise before bed: It is best not to exercise for six hours before going to bed.
3. Don't nap during the day: Avoid sleeping during the day, and if you are tired and need a nap, take it for no more than 30 minutes. According to studies, taking a 20- to 30-minute nap helps restore concentration and focus; however, taking more than that will have the opposite effect.
4. No heavy meals close to bedtime: Not only is it uncomfortable to sleep with a full stomach, but it also has other health consequences such as affecting the internal clock, storing more fat, poor digestion, and more.
5. Avoid caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and is intended to keep you awake, so limit your intake as much as possible. Nicotine is another stimulant that most people do not consider to be a sleep disruptor. So avoid stimulants at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.

What is good sleep hygiene?

Here are some tips to improve your sleep hygiene:
1. Get your dose of morning light: Allow yourself to be exposed to natural light in the morning. You can rest your circadian rhythm and send signals to your brain informing it that it's time to start the day by doing so.
2. Adhere to a bedtime ritual: Your body does not work like an electronic device that turns off once you lie down; instead, follow a bedtime ritual to prepare your body for sleep. Switch off all electronic devices thirty minutes before bedtime, dim the light, or read a book for a smooth transition from chaos to calmness.
3. Meditation: Meditation has the ability to relax both the mind and the body. Meditation is a skill that requires regular practise, but it has been shown to significantly improve sleep quality and hygiene.
4. Bedroom bliss: The atmosphere in the bedroom has a significant impact on sleep, so make sure your bed and mattress are in good condition and your bed is clean. You can also adjust the room temperature to make it more conducive to sleep and consider redecorating your room with soothing colours.
5. Maintain a regular bedtime routine: Circadian rhythms ensure that our internal clock is usually predictable. This means that you can improve your sleep hygiene by going to bed at the same time every night. A regular bedtime keeps the circadian rhythms strong, so the body learns to look forward to bedtime and is prompted to turn off or "hibernate" non-essential functions to let us sleep.
6. Balanced diet: Eat a balanced diet and avoid eating too close to bedtime. Fatty foods and alcohol can aggravate reflux, and as previously stated, reflux can cause sleep disruption. Peanut butter and dairy products are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which has been shown to help induce sleep.
Nurses Group knows how important it is to have a balance between work and life, so we help our nurses choose shifts that work with their personal schedules.

Like our service? Subscribe us