National Safety Month – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?



As any healthcare professional knows, safety always plays a key role in your daily work activities and responsibilities.  Patient safety is heavily stressed, and obviously a top priority in any setting.  However, do we put the same emphasis on the safety of the employees?  Without our nurses and healthcare professionals being at their best, how can we expect their patients to be?  Workplace safety is a priority for everyone, and for National Safety Month we want to specifically stress the importance of our nurses, nurse aides, and direct support professionals staying safe and at their very best.  One of the most important ways for them to do so is really quite simple—sleeping!

For National Safety Month, the National Safety Council and American Staffing Association are focusing on the leading causes of preventable injury and how we can work together to eliminate them.  One of the most significant causes they’ve highlighted this year is sleep deprivation.  Read on to learn more about how sleep deprivation affects the healthcare profession so significantly and also how to help eradicate the problem!

Sleep is one of the most basic and wonderful parts of life.  When I’m tired and away from home I often fantasize about snapping my fingers and magically already being under the covers—face washed, teeth brushed, and ready to recharge.  It seems simple enough, but when busy work schedules, familial responsibilities, and whatever other stress may be thrown at you gets added up, it can be difficult to get enough of this basic wonderful thing each night.  Then, we’re left fumbling through our day feeling maybe one level above zombie-mode.  It’s hard enough getting through your work day in this condition when you’re just sitting at a desk, let alone being on your feet for 8-12 hours, taking care of other human beings!  This is why it is so vital for every healthcare professional to make sure they’re getting enough restful and restorative sleep each night. 

Even if you think you’re getting enough sleep already, you still might be falling short.  The National Safety Council classifies anything less than 7 hours per night as a short sleep duration.  They also identified the top six occupations whose workers fail to receive this amount each night, and the category of “Nursing, psychiatric and home health aides” ranks at number 6 with 43%.  Although it’s at the bottom of their small list, it’s still number 6 out of every occupation…ever!  This is a problem, but there are many underlying factors.  This does not solely fall on the shoulders of the healthcare workers themselves, as there are many pieces to the overall puzzle.  However, there are tips you can follow to help increase your average sleep time.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) stresses the importance of nurses receiving at least seven hours of sleep daily.  The benefits of receiving this healthy sleep can monumentally affect both your personal health, and your work performance!  They identify the following benefits of healthy sleep: boosted mood, heightened alertness, better concentration, increased energy, better judgement, greater motivation, and improved learning.  On the other hand, if your amount of sleep is lacking, you could end up irritable, exhausted, and generally unpleasant to be around.  More seriously, though, it can also lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, mood disorders, and diabetes.  Not only is your career depending on healthy sleep, your life is too!

The ANA also identifies the following tips for improving your sleep:

  • Exercise earlier in the day, rather than closer to when you’d be going to bed
  • Keep your bedtime routine consistent
  • Avoid any alcohol or caffeine before bedtime
  • Avoid nicotine!
  • Do things that relax you before bedtime, like reading or listening to calming music
  • Ensure that your bedroom is dark and at a comfortable temperature
  • Be sure to use a supportive mattress and adequate pillows to increase your comfort
  • Don’t go to bed starving, but don’t go to bed too full either

As nurses and healthcare professionals, you have dedicated your career to doing one of the most selfless things imaginable—taking care of others.  However, it’s imperative that you take care of yourself as well.  Try these tips out for yourself, and pass them on to your colleagues to promote a work environment conducive to safety.

 

Are you a Registered Nurse (RN), Therapist, or other healthcare professional looking for your next exciting opportunity?

Capital Healthcare has rewarding positions for RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and Direct Support Professionals in a variety of settings, with flexible hours to meet your needs!

Please contact us today and learn how we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.

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Author: Michelle Adams

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