Healthcare workers and personal support workers are among the most sought-after professionals today. As the Covid-19 pandemic progresses, they are becoming more and more essential in the global fight against the virus. At Caring Support we understand that, unfortunately, this reality results in longer shifts in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that simply cannot afford to operate with the same number of workers they used to anymore.
As a result, healthcare workers and personal support workers are getting fewer off-hours than ever, meaning they have less time to dedicate to their personal activities like taking care of their families, running errands, cleanings their houses, resting, and sleeping.
In Caring Support we want to help with that, and in this article we present the best tips to help healthcare workers get a good night's sleep or a good day's sleep, considering that many of them work overnight.
In any case, let's begin.
To be able to get a good night's sleep, healthcare workers need to understand that sleep patterns are easily disrupted by stress, so taking the time to relax and getting into the right mindset is a necessary step that will help them fall asleep faster and deeper. In addition, they should learn about the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Most people just have to wait until it's nighttime, finish their daily activities and go to sleep. Healthcare workers and personal support workers do not usually have that privilege; therefore, they need to create a strategy to get the best out of the off-hours they have. Darkening the bedroom (if the only hours available to sleep are during the day), getting a white noise machine, or putting a “No Not Disturb” sign on the door if necessary, are good ideas.
The general recommendation for adults between the ages of 18 to 64 is to get about 7 to 9 continuous hours of sleep per day. If this is not possible, at least 6 hours could provide a good rest, if the conditions are optimal. Anything less than that is not recommended.
Since the human body prefers routines, healthcare workers should try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, even on days off. Having a predictable schedule will allow them to rest more, be more productive during their work shifts, and feel less tired overall.
If adults tell this to their kids, maybe it is time for them to follow the same rule. This is even more important for healthcare workers that need to get better sleep because having a bright device in front of their faces will distract them by sending the wrong signal to their brains and make it harder for them to fall asleep. Also, reading the news before bed, not a good idea.
Healthcare workers need to make sure there is a good period of time between their last cup of coffee or any other caffeinated drink, and their time to sleep because this stimulant interferes with the process of sleep.
Most people might think that if coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, then is most be okay to drink alcohol before bedtime. Well, no. While alcohol does have sedative properties that help drinkers fall asleep easier, it also has the potential to cause sleep disturbances or fragmented sleep patterns, as the body breaks down the alcohol, according to the American Sleep Foundation. The same goes for large meals.
Before going to bed, healthcare workers should consider taking a hot shower or bath. Another alternative could be meditating or reading a few chapters of a book in bed. The idea is to get in a relaxing mood that will help the body decompress and get ready to rest.
Looking at the time may cause unnecessary stress. In fact, some people develop so much anxiety around the time that they constantly wake up before their alarms. To avoid this, healthcare workers should turn their clocks away from their beds and set up their alarms with sounds that are not too disturbing, like a song of their preference. Also, an important recommendation is to never hit the snooze button because sleeping for a few minutes more after the alarm went off will only confuse the brain and make them more tired.
Healthcare workers and personal support workers should get their families involved in their sleeping schedules, making sure they understand why sleep is important for them and asking them to respect their time to rest. They should also instruct their families not to wake them up unless there is an emergency.
Are you a healthcare worker or a personal support worker? What do you think of these recommendations? Give them a try! And leave us any comments or questions below.
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