By October 3, 2011 0 Comments

Catching some zzz’s: Tips for a good night’s sleep

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It is important that you are happy with your travel nursing job and perform your best. You can help ensure that happens by getting a good night’s sleep. Sufficient rest is essential for your body and mind to be ready for your next big day. As a travel nurse, you’re often busy taking care of others, but at Medical Solutions we want you to take care of yourself, too.

Why it’s important to get a good night’s rest

Travel Nurse resting on couch at home after a long shift

If a nap is necessary, try just taking a 20-30 minute nap to avoid throwing off your body’s clock.

Getting enough sleep is important because it rejuvenates your body at the end of the day. During sleep your body goes through cycles to help you refresh mentally and physically, restoring the functions that are necessary for your next day’s routines. Here are some sites that give you insight about the importance of sleep.

Fine Living
Homespunspa
Sleep Disorders Guide

Results of lack of sleep

Without adequate sleep, you open yourself up to potential health risks, some of which impact short term mental performance, while others pose more serious, long-term risks. Some of the negative mental effects that may occur are an increase in stress and irritation. Shortness of memory may also take place because during the sleep cycle your brain refreshes for the next day by processing and organizing information.

A lack of sleep could also weaken your immune system, making you more prone to colds and viruses. In addition, a long-term lack of sleep or “sleep debt” can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, obesity, headaches and digestive problems. Here are some sites that have in-depth information about the consequences of sleep deprivation.

BBC News | HEALTH | Lack of sleep ‘risks lives’
Insomnia Connection
Sleepdex – Resources for Better Sleep

Advice for getting a good night’s rest

Even though your schedule as a travel nurse means you may not always be able to keep a regular schedule, there are still steps you can take to get the best sleep possible.

  • During the day, it is important to try to avoid naps. Taking naps could throw off your sleep cycle, making it difficult to fall asleep at night.
  • If a nap is necessary, try just taking a 20-30 minute nap to avoid throwing off your body’s clock.
  • Try to limit the amount of caffeine you drink before going to bed.
  • Pay close attention to keeping as regular a sleeping schedule as possible.
  • Keeping active and exercising on a regular basis will also help improve your sleeping patterns
  • Make sure to limit your exercising to 3 hours before bedtime so your body has time to slow down and relax.

Create a restful sleeping setting

Creating a good sleep environment can also help you get a good night’s sleep despite an irregular schedule as a travel nurse.

  • Make sure you have a comfortable pillow; you may want to try a therapeutic foam pillow that cradles your neck.
  • Do not use the room for doing work, paying the bills, using your computer, etc… Your body needs to recognize that the bedroom is only for sleep.
  • Try to keep the room as quiet as possible; use a fan or white noise machine to keep outside noises down.
  • In addition, be sure to hide your clock. It will only be a distraction when you are trying to fall sleep. Focusing on the time can make you anxious about being unable to sleep.

Finally, establish a good pre-sleep ritual. Don’t eat a big meal before you go to bed. Take time to relax for a while before you go to bed; read or take a warm bath. Give your body cues that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Put on some quiet, relaxing music. Last but not least, listen to your body, and go to sleep when you’re tired.

Here are some sites with more tips and advice about getting a good night’s sleep:

Helpguide
National Sleep Foundation
National Institute of Health
Journal Sleep
MedicineNet

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About the Author:

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions and am going on my 3rd year as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.

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