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Sleeping During Your Night Shift

Sleeping During Your Night Shift

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

Night shifts, be they 12 or eight hours (1900 to 0700 or 2330 to 0730) are tough to work, even if you work them regularly. It’s just not natural for our body to be up and alert all night, only to (hopefully) be refreshed during the day. It seems that no matter how well you think you sleep during the day, drowsiness sets in at some point during your night’s work. Is napping during your nightly break the solution?

Whether you take your breaks during the day and evening shifts, generally what you do with your break is your business. You can go eat something, spend the time reading quietly, surf the ‘net, or chat with friends. But when it comes to night shift breaks, the rules change; you can’t always do what you want, and that includes napping.

There have been many debates about the idea of nurses napping during their night shift breaks. While some nurses feel it is their right, others feel that this is wrong and inappropriate. Some facilities punish nurses for napping and, yet, others encourage it. Is it so cut and dry? Is it right or wrong?

Sleep Requirements

The human body needs between seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night in order to be fully restored. Already, in our overcharged world, many of us usually get far fewer than the ideal. If we work nights and try to sleep during the day, it’s highly unlikely that we get the same deep quality sleep, let alone, the recommended amount of time.

Working Tired Isn’t Safe

We all have read and heard of accidents caused by tired workers, from automobile accidents to bad judgment calls. Common problems caused by fatigue are:

• Slower cognitive responses and decision-making abilities
• Disruptions in short-term memory
• Difficulty maintaining attention to detail
• Slower motor skills

Next: Tired Nurses Leads to More Mistakes >>

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