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As a nurse, you pride yourself on many things. Being a dedicated nurse who is ready to hit the ground running is one of your many strengths, but do you consider getting enough sleep one of your strengths as well? For nurses, it’s common to put your own needs on the backburner; however, your health should be just as much of a priority as your patients. This May, we are celebrating Better Sleep Month by examining how we can improve our health by changing our sleep habits.
Getting quality shut-eye at night is not only essential for your own well-being, it is also critical for your patients. When you are running at optimum levels, you are able to provide consistent, high-quality care for your patients. As a travel nurse, you sometimes deal with special circumstances that can hinder your ability to sleep soundly. With the following tips, you can experience sweet dreams each and every night (or day) of your travel assignment.
Invest in Travel Essentials
If you are constantly on the go, there are a few things that you should carry with you to help you sleep while traveling. Such sleep aids may include an eye mask, a neck pillow (gone are the days of falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder) and a small travel blanket. No matter what mode of transportation you take to an assignment, you can rest easy with your travel essentials.
Block the Light
Even the tiniest glow from an alarm clock or streetlamp may prevent you from slipping into important cycles of sleep, which include REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Both types of sleep allow you to feel refreshed when you wake up. You may need to ensure light sources aren’t interfering with your ability to properly experience all of the necessary sleep cycles. We recommend investing in an eye mask and ear plugs in order to create a sleeping environment that works for you.
Turn off Tech
Turning off your phone and other gadgets at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep will help you fall asleep faster and leave you feeling more refreshed when you wake. A book is a great substitute for gadgets if you need to unwind before bed.
Sneak in a Nap
The key to naps is to sleep for a maximum of 20 minutes, no matter how exhausted you may be. Napping longer than 20 minutes causes that groggy feeling upon waking and can actually do more harm than good. Set an alarm so you don’t run the risk of oversleeping, and don’t forget your eye mask and ear plugs to ensure you fill that time with the best possible sleep.
Invest in a Mattress Topper
When you take a new assignment, you are also taking a gamble on a new bed. Mattress toppers are a cost-effective way to suit your needs in a removable and convenient way – no matter what kind of mattress you are using on assignment. Investing in a mattress topper can guarantee your comfort and sleep quality on any mattress.