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How to get a better nights sleep as a Nurse

We all know how amazing it feels waking up after a night of great sleep, we’re happy, alert and more engaged with the day.  However, Nurses face special challenges when it comes to having good sleep habits, as night shifts and ever-changing schedules come naturally as part of their job. Many nurses struggle to have a healthy work-life balance, including getting the right amount of sleep.

It’s crucial to try and get a good night's sleep regardless if you are a Nurse or not. Check out our tips below that you can implement into your sleep schedule.

Make sleep a priority - Try to limit the number of night shifts your work to four in a row or less. Ensure you have 48 hours off before you start another rotation of your roster. Where possible, be vigilant when accepting shift swap requests and how this may impact your sleep routine.

Drink caffeine sensibly - Only drink caffeinated drinks before going to work or earlier in your day and try to avoid caffeinated beverages up to 6 hours before going to sleep. If you feel yourself becoming low on energy when your bedtime is still a couple of hours away try a tea or a fruit juice which has natural sugars to help with your energy levels.

Choose an exercise regime that fits your lifestyle - Studies have shown that exercise can help with reducing stress, improving overall health and help you sleep more soundly! 30 minutes of activity a day goes a long way! Even a walk around the block once you get home to help mind your wind-down counts!

Make your bedroom sleep-friendly - If you are a regular on the night shift and rely on sleeping during daylight hours you’ll want to ensure your bedroom is ‘light-proofed’ If you can, invest in blackout curtains for the windows, you could also try something in front of your door like a towel rolled up to keep the light out. You may also consider reminding the others you live with not to bother you while you’re sleeping, and if possible to keep the noise down, especially if you find it hard to fall back asleep after being woken up. Lastly don’t forget to turn off your TV, to make sure that your phone and tablets are on silent or Do Not Disturb mode. Try a face mask and earplugs as well to help filter out any unexpected lights and sounds.

Stay away from technology - Most of us have a tendency to use technology to wind down after a busy shift. Screen time before bed wakes our brain, so In the 90 minutes leading up to your bedtime turn off the TV, put down your phone and switch it out for reading a book or listening to a podcast. This will help relax you and nod off in no time.

Watch your diet -  Certain foods can also be a recipe for a restless night's sleep. Be sure to eat healthy nutritional foods. Try avoiding sugary and processed foods, they are the main culprit for a restless nights sleep.

A great night sleep can help reduce stress, puts you in a better mood and contributes to achieving an overall healthy lifestyle.