July is Healthy Sleep Month – This week the focus is Shift Work

 In Healthy Sleep

Hi Healthy Nurses

July is Healthy Sleep Month – This week the focus is Shift Work

If you are working the off-shift, sleep does not have the same meaning anymore.  Planning when you are going to sleep and how many hours you will get becomes a major part of your day.  Shift work disorder, often referred to as a “circadian rhythm sleep disorder”, is a chronic condition directly related to evening and night shift schedule.  Shift work disorder can affect your health as well as your performance and safety at work.  Shift work disorder has been linked to depression, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and obesity.  The best way to avoid shift work disorder is to practice good sleep hygiene with a healthy sleep routine.

Good Sleep Hygiene

  • Skip the nightcap prior to going to bed.  Alcohol may help you to sleep initially but it may cause you to have a disturbed sleep.
  • Avoid large meals and caffeine for 3-4 hours prior to going to sleep.
  • Plan for enough time to sleep 7-9 hours.  Adults require 7-9 hours to achieve a healthy sleep.
  • Sleep in a place that is dark, cool, comfortable, and quiet.  A dark room assists your body in producing melatonin, a natural chemical which aids in the sleep process.  Choose a quiet area or use white noise such as a fan or air conditioner to block out daytime noise.  A cool room temperature is best for sleeping.  Adjust your room temperature for day sleeping as you would for nighttime.
  • Avoid screen time.  This refers to television, tablets, and phones.  Prepare your mind to rest along with your body.
  • Develop a standard routine. Try to keep the same sleep and wake schedule every day.  Wake up the same time every day.  This helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality.
  • Don’t press the snooze button on the alarm.  The extra 3 to 5 minutes of restless sleeps is not long enough to enter a sleep cycle and you end up feeling groggy for the first hour of your day.
  • Let the sun shine in.  Opening the curtains or turning on the lights when you first wake up gives you that boost you need to start your day.  The light stimulates your body to get moving and brightens your day

Healthy sleep benefits your mind and body.  You will feel happier, healthier, and more energetic.  Have a healthy happy day and sleep well!

Additional information on Shift Work Disorder can be located at https://sleepfoundation.org and https://sleep.org

Thank you for being part of healthy nurse, healthy nation movement!

Jillian Bailey, Linda Gural, Laura Mularz, and the Healthy Nurse, Nation- NJ Team 


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