The A, B, Z’s of Travel Nursing - Why Sleep Matters - The Gypsy Nurse

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

July 11, 2020



The A, B, Z’s of Travel Nursing – Why Sleep Matters

Trying to juggle the demands as a travel nurse can be challenging. For the night shift travel nurse, a lack of sleep, a late-night, insomnia, more than one late night…they can all add up to a tired you.

When you are not rested, you are not at your best. That can mean irritability, grumpiness, a foggy head, and possibly poor decision-making when it comes to patients. It’s important to note that sleep is a lot like calories and nutrition. It’s not just about how much sleep you get, but how much quality sleep you get.

Here are a few reasons why getting enough Z’s is so important.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes a year. Fatigue is also linked to work related accidents, and medication errors among night shift nurses.

Health risks

Studies show that the majority of people suffering from insomnia also have at least one other health concern.  When left uncorrected, loss of sleep can lead to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.


Sleep deprivation can quickly become a vicious circle. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Physical impact

When you body is deprived of sleep it releases more stress hormones which in turn actually ages your skin. It can also slow growth and development in younger people.

Weight gain

Research studies suggest that sleep loss appears to stimulate appetite and cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. In fact, inadequate sleep is correlated with decreases in leptin, a hormone that regulates and suppresses hunger.

Decreased Performance and Alertness

According to WebMD, sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.

Sick (and tired)

Without the right amount of sleep, your immune system doesn’t have a chance to rebuild its forces. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s more likely that your body won’t be able to fend off invaders and you may take longer to get over an illness if you continuously lack sleep.

The best you means a rested you.

Your ability to care for patients, handle stress, and display good judgment rely heavily on adequate sleep. There’s a lot of truth to the saying “get your beauty rest” but it goes much further than that, so be sure to catch your Z’s!

Other Articles of interest for the Night Shift Travel Nurse:

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