The best way to catch up on sleep

Here are some tips that may help you get a good sleep:

  • Maintain proper “sleep hygiene.” Have a routine that you do before you go to bed, whether it’s at night or in the morning. If you can decompress from your shift on your way home, you’re ahead of the game.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex, nothing else. It’s not for TV watching, working or anything else.
  • Blackout curtains are your friend if you’re trying to sleep during the day. Your body needs the dark to know it’s supposed to sleep. Some nurses wear sunglasses home from night shift and don’t turn on any lights at home. This is an attempt to trick the body into thinking it’s nighttime.
  • Turn off phones. This is hard for some people in this world of instant communication. If you’re a parent, you might worry about not being available if your children need help, but your sleep time should treated as if you were at work. Try to have an alternate person to be called if there are any problems. If that isn’t possible or you’re just not comfortable with it, perhaps get two phones. One phone is for everyone to call you, and that’s the one you turn off. Your other one, maybe a separate cell phone, is your emergency phone. No one has the number who doesn’t need it. Work doesn’t have it, your mom doesn’t have it, your friends don’t have it—just the school or daycare.
  • Stop treating sleep as the last thing on your to-do list. Sleep is important. You need it. How can you be an effective nurse if you’re too tired to think?


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