Hey busy nurse - are you having a hard time sleeping at night?
If so, you're far from alone!
We recently polled the over 30,000 nurses in the Nurses Only Club, and sleep was the #1 problem we had come up.
And as the brand that looks out for nurses FIRST, we believe it's our duty to help fix this.
Because it goes without saying nursing is a stressful job.
And unfortunately, that stress easily affects our sleep.
Sleep is a very important component of every person’s physical, emotional
and mental well-being.
Adequate rest helps the body to be ready for another day. But most of the time, we're deprived with sleep that we badly need.
And since shift work goes hand in hand with our profession; sleeping in the day when everyone is up or going into work as everyone is heading home and done for the day - our sleep pattern can get totally messed up.
And sleep deprivation is no joke as it’s linked to many chronic health problems.
As nurses with rotating shifts, long work hours and overtime - what must you do to get enough sleep?
Please note that this is for informational purposes only and not medical advice. If you have specific questions, especially about health conditions, please consult your doctor!
With that disclaimer out the way, let's get started!
Take a low dose of Melatonin before bed.
Melatonin is a hormone that our body produces naturally - but blue light exposure through the day dramatically slows its production (we'll talk more about this topic soon - it's VERY important to understand).
The good news is, Melatonin can be found over the counter at any drugstore, and it's dirt cheap!
Many find melatonin is very helpful to help them go to bed.
We recommend taking it in lower doses about an hour before bed and to see if it works for you. Just try to only take it on the nights where you really need it.
Get more Magnesium.
Of course we all know our Fluids and Electrolytes, but here's a quick reminder:
Magnesium is vital for many over 300 processes in the body, and it's especially important for sleep and energy production.
In a nutshell, it's the relaxation electrolyte, and when you don't get enough things get really out of wack - especially your sleep.
According to PubMed, over 70% of the United States population is estimated to be Magnesium deficient. So there's a great chance you're not getting enough!
To solve this, you can eat magnesium rich foods such as kale, spinach, nuts, legumes, dark chocolate, avocado, tofu, and certain fatty fishes.
While we recommend improving your diet, the easiest option for many is just to supplement.
For the best absorption, either use magnesium salts or magnesium citrate - not magnesium oxide, since its absorption is very poor. Please know that the difference is absolutely critical if you want to get the real effects from supplementing magnesium.
And as you know, one common side effect is that magnesium relaxes your bowels (you know what that means) - so we recommend you start with a lower dose, see how you tolerate it, then go from there.
EAT A CLEAN DIET WITH AS FEW PROCESSED FOODS AS POSSIBLE.
This is easier said than done sometimes, but you really get what you put into your body!
Lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates, in general, can actually trigger wakefulness at night, which messes up your sleep and deprives you of essential vitamins and minerals (such as magnesium!)
So cut out the refined carbs, sugars, and super refined "vegetable oils" as much as possible!
Eat whole foods with few ingredients and not only will your mood improve, but your sleep as well!
STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
We know - it's easier said than done.
You have to find something that works for YOU. Some prefer to take a hot shower and use deep breathing techniques.
Some find that meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and other techniques work great for them.
Some like to pull meditative music from their favorite app or YouTube channel.
Again, experiment and see what works for you.
As a general rule, we recommend deep breathing techniques, especially if you're stressed before bed.
Slow down your breathing by breathing in 3 seconds through your nose, then slowly exhaling for at LEAST 10 reps and see how much better you feel.
The right stress management technique can be an absolute life saver!
IF POSSIBLE SLEEP AT THE SAME TIME EACH NIGHT
This is hard for a lot of nurses, especially if you work the night or rotating shifts.
But simply put, your body adjusts to a certain schedule and it wants to stick to it.
Unfortunately, diverting from your schedule almost always results in less restful sleep.
If at all possible, sleep at the same time each night!
If your schedule doesn't always allow for it, still do it as often as possible, and just follow the other techniques we have here.
Studies have constantly shown that exercising frequently leads to better mood,
health, and sleep.
If you're busy on the floor all day, there's a good chance that you don't need to be told this.
But on your day off, whether you're a gym bunny or not, try to get some kind of exercise in.
Exercise has a huge effect on sleeping better!
DECLUTTER YOUR BRAIN
This is a HUGE tip that can really make a massive difference if you're someone who goes to bed worrying at night.
Basically, you just want to turn your brain off!
When you walk away from a hard shift, you need a way to declutter your brain.
Sometimes, what keeps you up is the mental stress of hoping you remember to do something the next day, or analyzing something that happened today.
So have a notepad where you just write down your thoughts so you can look at it the next day instead!
Keep it right next to your bed with a pen so you can use it any time a thought comes to your head.
You'd be amazed how well this can work - especially for nurses, because we come home with so many stressful thoughts about work each day.
If you're a big worrier and it keeps you up at night - we challenge you to try this once and see how it works for you!
INSTALL BLUE LIGHT REDUCING APPS FOR
YOUR PHONE & COMPUTER.
Artificial blue light is a serious problem that we've talked extensively about before.
In fact, we've been the leading brand in educating nurses on the blue light issue - because it's a HUGE PROBLEM!
Why? Because for one, like we've said before, it significantly reduces your melatonin production.
It also causes eyestrain, headaches, and dry eye - but that's a topic for another article.
All this has been proven by Harvard University, The Sleep Foundation, and many more reputable organizations.
Almost all phones have a blue light reducing setting to reduce exposure. You can also use apps like Twilight or f.lux if for some reason it doesn't.
This is especially important for better quality sleep or again during the day to help prevent eyestrains, dry eye and headaches.
It may be a little weird at first, but the more orange your screen looks, the better protected you are against blue light. Be sure to play with the settings until you find a setting that works for you!
WEAR A PAIR OF BLUE LIGHT BLOCKING GLASSES
A great pair of blue light glasses will block out most of the harmful blue light that you’re exposed to.
This is important because although you can reduce your exposure to blue light from screens, it's very hard to reduce your exposure to ALL artificial blue light before bed - especially artificial indoor lighting.
Therefore, we recommend blue blockers for EVERYONE because it shields you from all sources of artificial blue light.
And with our Crystal Microfilter Technology ours are specifically designed for a nurse's needs.
How? They block out the majority of harmful blue light without ugly orange lenses or distorted vision, and they're built durably out of a special acetate for the ruggedness you need on the job.
Plus they provide excellent protection against UVA/UVB and they're anti-glare!
(All this while being they're SUPER cute!)
We recommend using them while charting or doing anything else in front of a screen, using your phone and a few hours before bed. This can dramatically reduce headaches, eyestrain, dry eyes, and improve sleep quality.
We've sold over 35,000 blue light blocking glasses to nurses all over the world. They've raved to us about how they reduce their headaches and dry eyes, and help them sleep better at night.
And right now, they're currently on sale!
If you want to know more about our glasses first, click here!
Now, if you combine all of these tips, you should be able to dramatically improve your sleep.
Meaning you'll be a happier, healthier, and more confident nurse! If you found this helpful, please share it with anyone you know!
It's our duty as nurses to take better care of ourselves and educate our profession on any health issues that affect all of us.
Please share this article with a nurse that needs it!