Top 10 Sleep Tips for Nurses
Marijke Durning | Scrubs Magazine
February 09, 2011
7. Don’t let your room get too warm.
This is a mistake many people make. They’re cold when they go to bed so they put up the heat in the room to compensate. The problem is, as you sleep, the room stays hot and this can actually wake you up. If your room is cool, you may want to consider a few other ways to be warmer aside from getting a thicker quilt. Try wearing socks to bed, warming up your bed with a heating pad or hot water bottle (make sure you turn off the heating pad or that it has an automatic “off” function), or invest in an electric blanket or heating underpad, which goes under your sheets. This way, you can be warm, but the ambient air stays cool.
8. Check your bedding.
Do you remember the story about the Princess and the Pea? If you’re having trouble staying asleep, you could be writing a sequel to the story: The Nurse and the Wrinkle.
Bedding linens are not cheap. Because they’re “just sheets,” we tend to spend as little as possible when buying them. But consider this: If you spend six to eight hours per night (or day) in bed, that’s 42 to 56 hours per week, 168 to 224 hours per month or 2,184 to 2,912 hours per year you’re on those sheets! Isn’t your sleep worth a few more pennies a week? Buy the best sheets that feel comfortable to you, which means going for the higher thread counts. In the winter, you may want to invest in flannel sheets. The point is to sleep on what’s comfortable for you, instead of waking up because you keep rubbing against a pull or a pill in the sheet.
While we’re on the subject of sheets, how old is your mattress? Mattresses aren’t meant to last forever, and our needs for soft versus firm change as do our bodies. Maybe you should take a look at what’s available or invest in a mattress top that will change the firmness without switching the whole thing. And finally, your pillow. Your pillow is an important part of your sleep system, too. Your pillow should comfortably support your neck, no matter what position you sleep in. But you may not have the right pillow for your body and your sleep habits.
9. Address bothersome bed partners.
Do you have a partner who snores? Does she toss and turn? Does he pull off all the covers? These are all things that can make sleep difficult. One solution for the covers is to have two quilts or blankets on the bed: one for him and one for her. Earplugs may help the snoring solution. Hogging the bed could even mean a partner needs to sleep on another bed or in another room. If your bed partner is a pet and his sleeping habits are waking you, it may be time to consider letting Fluffy or Fido sleep in another part of the house.
10. Don’t force it.
Sometimes, sleep just doesn’t come, no matter how much we need it. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 or 30 minutes, get up and out of bed. Leave the room and do something quiet, such as reading or listening to soft music. Don’t do anything stimulating like watching TV or checking email. Stay quiet and calm. After a while, try going back to bed again. The trick is for your body to associate the bed with sleep, not with wakefulness.
More on ScrubsMag.com:• In Wellness and Prevention: Best Ways to Catch Up on Sleep
• In Health: 19 Ideas for Shift Nurses to Get Enough Sleep
• In Wellness and Prevention: 8 Sleep Tips for Evening Nurses