The month of July focuses on Healthy Sleep. With long summer days and family activities, sleep may be the last thing on your mind. However, for nurses on long shifts as well as family members, sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.
ANA recognizes the challenges that nurses face to reduce the risks of nurse fatigue and sleepiness associated with shift work and long work hours. In 2015, the position statement Addressing Nurse Fatigue to Promote Safety and Health: Joint Responsibilities of Registered Nurses and Employers to Reduce Risks was developed with recommendations for both the nurse and the employer to ensure that both nurses and patients could be safe. One of the primary recommendations was that nurses should have adequate sleep, and employers should make provisions for nurses that are too tired to drive home safely.
The benefits of healthy sleep, according to ANA, include: "heightened alertness, boosted mood, increased energy, better concentration, more stamina, greater motivation, better judgment, and improved learning." Conversely, those that are sleep deprived are susceptible to "obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and mood disorders", according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH, n.d.).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the National Sleep Foundation, recommend promoting a routine at bedtime known as sleep hygiene. Recommendations include:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
- Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TV’s, computers, and other ‘gadgets’ from the bedroom.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime. (CDC, 2015)
References & Resources
- American Nurses Association - Healthy Sleep
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Sleep and Sleep Disorders.
Accessed June 21, 2017
- National Institutes of Health - What makes us sleep?.
Accessed June 26, 2017
- Nurse Fatigue
Nurse fatigue compromises the health and safety of both the nurse and patient, and can also be costly to employers. - Fatigue position statement
ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses
The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements provides ethical guidance for all registered nurses in all settings, but also provides guidance for the individual care of the nurse. Interpretive Statement 5.2 of the Code states that "Nurses should model the same health maintenance and health promotion measures that they teach and research, obtain health care when needed, and avoid taking unnecessary risks to health or safety in the course of their professional and personal activities." Nurses should commit to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get sufficient rest in order to balance a satisfying work environment with individual health and well-being.
As we strive for a Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation™, all nurses in all roles have a duty to take the same care for their own health and safety, and to foster an environment that is conducive to this balance.
ANA Collaborative Partner
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) is the professional association of licensed nurses engaged in the practice of occupation and environmental health nursing. The major roles and responsibilities of AAOHN are to define the scope of practice, set standards of professional conduct, and to promote and provide continuous learning opportunities for occupational and environmental health nurses. AAOHN serves over 4,000 members located across the United States, US Territories, and the and around the world.
Visit the AAOHN's Online Learning Page to take "Wake Up to Worker Sleep Issues", AAOHN's learning module that provides the occupational health nurse with an overview of normal adult sleep; explains circadian rhythms and sleep regulation; examines how sleep affects work; describes how to do a sleep assessment; and details the most common sleep disorders. This course is 2.5 CNEs and the cost is $25.00 for AAOHN members and non-members.
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