Healthcare providers are no different than anyone else - if you shortchange your sleep, there will be consequences!
Many people see sleep as a luxury. But the bottom line is, sleep matters and is a basic human need.
Only you can make sleep a priority for yourself as a person, and as a clinician. If we practice good sleep habits and behaviors for ourselves, then we can better talk with our patients about their sleep and the importance of sleep health overall.
Most healthy adults should aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. Think you’re special and need less? Clinicians are no different.
A lot of clinicians believe that they are short sleepers and only need 6 hours or less. The truth is, that’s not very common.
Often people (including clinicians) who think they need less sleep are just good at compensating for the effects of sleep deprivation – for now. However, their sleep deficit will catch up with them eventually. Negative effects can also be immediate, and may compromise our abilities and productivity as clinicians when treating and interacting with our patients.
The effects of sleep deprivation:
Sleep deprivation can impact our overall health and wellness in a number of ways. Regularly skipping sleep can:
1.) Negatively affect our immune system. If we’re sleep deprived, it can decrease our ability to fight infection.
2.) Alter appetite hormones and cause weight gain.
3.) Ruin our mood and make us irritable. That can spill over and impact our relationships and can interfere with memory and productivity.
4.) Increase the risk of medical problems such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Make sleep a priority!
Want to find ways to fit more sleep into your life? Here are some ideas:
1.) Start small: Try going to bed just 10 to 15 minutes earlier. If you’re still feeling sleepy during the day, push your bedtime back another 15 minutes.
2.) Limit naps: To protect the quantity and quality of your nighttime sleep, cap daytime naps at 20 to 30 minutes, and don’t nap later than 3 p.m.
3.) Avoid caffeine: Limit caffeine in the late afternoon so you’re sleepy when bedtime rolls around.
4.) Exercise: Regular physical activity can help improve sleep.
5.) Make it a habit: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.