Sleep: A Crucial Factor For A Healthcare Professional

Publisher – Uniformed Services University

“Sleep and circadian disruption can have negative health and safety consequences including impaired immune function and increased accidents and errors.”

With the entire world facing COVID-19 currently, hospital workers have been at the forefront, risking their lives to save others. Their ability to function is of utmost importance in this battle. They are required to be in their best state to overcome the crisis that has plagued the world.

The recommended hours of sleep are 7-9 per night. However, hospital workers often do night duty as well and with the current COVID situation they might get even less sleep. Decreased sleep can have a negative impact on one’s immunity and performance at work which can lead to errors. A sufficient amount of sleep improves a person’s ability to perform and they can be more dedicated to their work.

“Sleep is a tool that you can utilize to help your body fight off infection, maintain health and perform at its best which will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of your patients.”

It is best to start the day by spending some time in the sun. This will indirectly inform the body that the day has begun. Timings for exercising should be fixed in the morning and avoided at night and at times of sickness. Also, naps of 20 minutes can be very effective and naps exceeding 60 minutes can work as a way to balance the sleep lost or in preparation for a long shift ahead.

 Caffeine is used as a means of staying awake but its effects stay for a long time and can affect the sleep schedule. It is also best to avoid consumption of caffeine 6 hours before bedtime as it can disrupt the ability to sleep. Consumption of alcohol should also be avoided before bedtime.

 Maintaining a sleep schedule even on non-working days ensures the cycle’s continuity. The mind must be trained, signaling that it is bedtime. A warm shower, reading a book, brushing teeth and relaxation techniques can be conducive to sleep. This provides a signal to the body that it is time to sleep. Exercising, drinking coffee, watching television, or using your phone before bedtime can have a negative effect so refrain from doing those activities before bedtime. A dark and quiet environment is conducive to sleep. Eye masks and black-out curtains do serve as additional help. All screens should be switched off as well to create a suitable environment in which the body can relax.

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