What is Healthy Sleep

 In Healthy Sleep

What is Healthy Sleep?  The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines healthy sleep as at least seven hours of restorative, comfortable rest daily.  When you wake up from a healthy sleep you have increased energy, heightened alertness, better concentration, more stamina, better judgement, and you feel great.  Healthy People 2020 reports that sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being.  Nurses understand the importance of sleep for our patients to heal and recover from surgery or an illness, yet we downplay the importance of a healthy sleep for our own well-being.  Fatigue from ‘unhealthy sleep’ can lead to a grumpy, irritable nurse and increase the incidents of medical errors.

The incidence of sleep disorders have increased in the United States over the last 30 years.  The sleep schedule suffers from the demands of employment and lifestyle choices.  Nurses work long hours and extra shifts to meet the demands of a dwindling healthcare workforce.  Even the healthy trend of increased exercise is chosen at the expense of an hour of sleep.  How many people get up early to go to the gym or jog in the morning?  Sleep health promotion and education are needed to increase the awareness that adequate sleep is essential for health and a necessity for nurses.  Chronic short sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and mood disorders.

ANA tips to improving sleep:

  1.  Avoid nicotine.
  2. Keep a consistent bedtime and routine
  3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to bedtime.
  4. Engage in relaxing activities prior to bedtime such as prayer, warm bath, calming music, and reading.
  5. Get comfortable with a supportive mattress and adequate pillows.
  6. Ensure your room is dark, quiet (unless you prefer soft music or white noise).
  7. Keep the room at a cool but comfortable temperature.
  8. If you are anxiety-prone, keep a pad of paper by bed to write down your worries, then let them go until morning.
  9. Neither starve nor stuff yourself prior to bedtime.
  10. Exercise earlier in the day to promote sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to starting a movement about the positive benefits of sleep health.  Visit https://sleep.org and explore how getting a ‘good night sleep’ is a benefit to your health and the health of the population you serve. Additional information can be obtained at: www.nursingworld.org and www.healthypeople.gov/2020

Of special note make sure you check out Healthy Nurse NJ Pinterest and make sure you complete your profile at ANA’s Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation Grand Challenge –  http://www.healthynursehealthynation.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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