How Vital Is Sleep For Health Care Workers?

Posted on February 17th, 2021



Sleep is very crucial for all human beings and is so for healthcare workers too. They are no exception. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that catching adequate snooze is just as essential as eating and exercising properly. However, are the medical professionals getting the needed sleep? Probably not, because they are the ones who are suffering the most from Sleep Deprivation (SD), Sleep-wake Disorders(SWD), Shift Worker Sleep Disorder (SWSD) or some kinds of problems that are impacting sleep.

With this harsh reality, let us see what actually these sleep disorders are? How healthcare workers can fight them for the good of themselves and also their patients.

Impact Of Sleep Deprivation:

SD can cause cognitive impairment and weaken performance in works which ask vigilance, memory planning and decision making like shift work (e.g., health care and emergency services). It can end in mistakes both off and on the role when not managed well.

Impact Of Sleep-wake Disorder:

SWD and SWSD in shift workers denote daily rhythm sleep illnesses characterized by signs of insomnia and extreme sleepiness concerning working a nontraditional schedule (one that clashes with natural, endogenetic sleep-wake rhythms).

The health can indeed suffer if one constantly shortchanges on sleep. Diabetes, obesity, inappropriate digestive function, heightened risk of cancer, heart disease and car crashes are a few of the common problems that arise if one is not getting enough sleep.

As per the estimates of the Cleveland Clinic, shift workers between 10 to 40% face SWSD. Those ones who regularly shift schedules are more prone to be affected. Besides, daytime sleep isn’t equal to nighttime sleep in either duration or quality and makes recovering difficult. Surprisingly many aren’t aware of this fact and assume that they are working because they are sleeping enough.

Although these facts are really hard, employees, especially healthcare workers, cannot change the work hours. However, there is nothing to worry about as making some lifestyle changes can lessen the side effects of these sleep disorders. Sticking to multimodal method consisting of sleep hygiene measures, sleep scheduling, exercise, healthy diet, light therapy, melatonin and enrolling family and social support aids alleviating the symptoms of these sleep disorders.

For Effective Impact Follow These Tips...
  • Create a steady bedtime schedule that comprises relaxation activity. Try to maintain a routine sleep timetable, including on the days you don’t work. Whenever possible, take naps and stick to regular wake up time so that you spend the exact amount of time in bed each day.
  • Avoid late-day/night dining, strictly avoid beverages or foods that have caffeine. Try to avoid caffeine consumption before 4 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid mental and physical stimulation before sleeping.
  • Make a sleeping space that is dark and quiet, has a moderate temperature and is free of a stimulus (e.g., mobiles, pagers). Use eyeshades, white noise and/or earplugs.
  • Sport sunglasses before leaving work so that sun exposure minimizes. Wearing spectacles prevents activation of “daytime” clock. Buy a lightbox for light therapy before work to open up the eyes to high-intensity light but, ensure the light is safe.
  • Your diet should be rich in vegetables and fruits.
  • Ask family to lower noise when you are sleeping and also turn off all distractions such as TVs.
  • Keep pre-sleep habits before bed, maintain them even during the day.
  • As recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), you can take 3mg melatonin for shift work disorder now and then.

Follow all these above tips to see a better sleep with each passing day.

Tags: sleep importance, importance of sleep, problems of lack of sleep, sleeplessness problems for health care workers, sleep deprivation problems for medical workers, sleep-wake disorders problems, shift worker sleep disorders

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