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5 ways I get my ZZZs

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I’ve been a night nurse now since 2007 and have been trying all kinds of “Sleep Tricks.” After lots of real-life research, here are the top 5 ways I’ve improved sleeping during the day. It IS hard! But as proof that my tactics are working, I will submit that I have never fallen asleep at the nurses station (!) or in my car on the way home (!!):

1. I always, always, always nap before a 1st night on. I don’t know how nurses go into their 1st night without sleep, but I will say most of the nurses I see sleeping at work are the ones that don’t nap prior to a shift. (And I’m talking non-union sleeping.)

2. NO caffeine after 12 AM at work keeps me from staring at my ceiling when I get in bed at 9AM.

3. When I get home, I go straight to bed. I’ve set up my life so that all I have to do, after an obligatory shower, is crawl between the sheets. The more stimulus I have between getting home and getting in bed, the longer it takes me to zzzzz.

4. No eating right before bed. I grab something light around 5AM while at work, so when I get home, I can sleep because I’m not digesting a huge breakfast. Anytime I’ve eaten a large meal right before daytime sleep I have paid the price of endless tossing and turning.

5. On sleep days, my phones are off, I don’t answer doors, I act like it’s the middle of the night–‘cuz for me, it is! I don’t try to fit in lots of errands or activities on my sleep days. I just sleep, eat with my family and maybe work-out before heading back to work.

And if none of my 5 work, I have been known to take a sleep aid–melatonin, RX aids, OTC stuff, etc–if I need some occassional help, I just do it. But usually I don’t have to because I follow my rules. The thing is, most night nurses find a way to sleep because we can’t stay on nights otherwise. Plus, sleepy nurses are NOT safe nurses!

(Oh, how I envy those union naps!)

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Amy Bozeman

Amy is many things: a blogger, a nurse, a wife, a mom, a childbirth educator. She started her journey towards a career in nursing when she got pregnant with her first child. After nursing school and studying "like she has never studied before" she entered the nursing profession eager to get her feet wet. The first years provided her with much exposure to sadness, joy and other complex human emotions. She feels that blogging is a wonderful outlet and a way for nurse bloggers to further build their community. Traditionally, midwives have handed down their skill set from midwife to apprentice midwife. She believes nurses have this same opportunity: to pass from nurse to new nurse the rich traditions of this profession.

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