This article provided by: Gifted Healthcare
For many travel nurses, sleep is merely a luxury. Long hours and night shifts make sleep precious and hard to find.
However, getting enough shut-eye is an essential part of maintaining a healthy, productive lifestyle. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep can significantly affect one’s well-being.
But don’t worry, there’s hope! Read on for a list of tips to help travel nurses improve their sleep health.
Stick to a Schedule
While it can be difficult for shift workers to maintain a stable sleeping schedule, try to be as consistent as possible. This will make falling asleep and waking up much easier, and reduce your chance of crashing while you’re awake.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, maintaining a consistent schedule trains your body’s internal clock. This internal clock, or circadian rhythm, determines your cycles of sleepiness and alertness.
If you fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day, you’ll be less likely to feel the changes of your internal clock.
Take Time to Decompress
Engaging in stressful activities before bedtime can cause anxiety, which makes it harder to fall asleep and sleep soundly. Your body needs time to transition into “sleep mode.”
Try a calming activity like reading, meditation, or taking a bath. Once you’ve found a reliable way to decompress, try to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Avoid Electronics & Bright Lights
The type of light emitted from modern electronics can activate your brain in a way that makes it harder for you to sleep. Try to avoid screens at least an hour before your bedtime.
In addition, other kinds of light can disrupt your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. If you work nights, do your best to avoid sunlight and make your home as dark as possible when it’s time to go to bed.
Exercising is a great way to ensure that you sleep soundly, especially if you struggle with anxiety. Physical activity is a natural stress reliever and has been shown to improve sleep quality and increase sleep duration.
According to Sleep.org, “as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.”
Save Your Bedroom for Sleeping
Do you use your bedroom for activities other than sleeping? If you’re someone that has trouble falling or staying asleep, you might need to find a new room for working, watching television, or using your laptop.
By using your bedroom exclusively for sleeping, you strengthen your brain’s association between “bedroom” and “sleep.” If you find yourself lying awake and struggling to fall asleep, try moving to another room and doing something else until you feel tired enough to try again.
Avoid Stimulants & Large Meals Before Bedtime
Stimulants like nicotine and caffeine can significantly affect your body’s ability to wind down and fall asleep. Large meals can cause indigestion, which can keep you awake or cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
Try to avoid stimulants and large meals at least two hours before bedtime.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable
Nobody looks forward to sleeping in an uncomfortable place. That’s why it’s so important to view your bedroom as a sleeping sanctuary.
Having a mattress and pillows that encourage a good night’s sleep is a worthwhile investment. It’s also essential to organize your bedroom in a way that eliminates stress and clutter.
If you think your bedroom could use an upgrade, check out these tips on creating a soothing bedroom environment.
Start Improving Your Sleep Health Today
Getting enough sleep is an important part of living your best nurse life! Use our list of tips to improve your sleep health today.