Why are nurses always so exhausted? We all know it’s because of the long shifts and rigorous workday hours. However, there is a more underlying and subtle answer to that question: You’re not sleeping enough.
Many nurses who carry full-time jobs and balance taking care of their family members, managing their homes, and basically living life often find themselves unable to keep up with everything they need to do.
They’re too tired or too overworked to find time for sleep, but this lack of downtime is seriously hurting you. Your lack of sleep can result in many negative effects on your physical and mental stability, most notably impaired judgment and increased risk for health problems like diabetes and cancer.
What is the Root Cause of Nurse Burnout?
Research shows that sleep is the most important factor in our mental health.
The lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression, anger issues, and even an increased risk for heart disease.
A lack of sleep is also connected to memory deficits. In fact, while sleeping, you still use your brain so much that you may have trouble keeping up with the many tasks that come up during the day.
Nurses who are suffering from the devastating effects of stress and burnout will often find that they are having trouble concentrating, remembering what they are doing, and feeling less organized.
Sleep is so essential to the working nurse because it helps to restore your body and keeps your mind sharp and awake.
It is proven that not getting sufficient sleep can cause a deterioration of your brain, which may lead to an increased risk of cancer, depression, anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Healthy Ways to Get Yourself Motivated
Now you know why you may be suffering from burnout, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can help to combat the effects of stress and burnout and how you can thrive in your nursing career.
Improve Your Time Management
The biggest reason why nurses don’t get enough sleep comes down to one thing: time management.
When on duty at the hospital you do not have much time for yourself. You must be mentally alert at all times in order to make quick decisions regarding a patient’s well-being if the need arises.
This is one of the main reasons why effective time management is covered when you study for an MSN to NP certificate because time management is vital for your career.
Make a Sleeping Schedule
The key to getting more sleep is making a schedule that allows you to get enough sleep.
The biggest problem most working nurses have is that their work schedule often interferes with their sleep schedule.
There are limited days that you are able to take off from work due to your commitment and workload, which can be a source of stress and anxiety.
Turn Off the Electronics Before Bedtime
Electronics and bright lights such as televisions and computers can have a negative effect on your ability to fall asleep.
The blue wavelength of light emitted by electronic devices can start to interfere with your melatonin production, which is what helps you to fall asleep.
Try turning off the lights and the TV at least an hour before bedtime, and make it a point to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Avoid Caffeine before Bedtime
Caffeine can be a source of stress as well as a cause of insomnia.
Consuming coffee or other caffeinated beverages can lead to sleeplessness by making you anxious and jittery all night long, which will lead to an inability to sleep well.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing techniques can help you relax and fall asleep faster.
Try to breathe in deeply and count to three before exhaling completely. This will help you simultaneously empty your lungs, calm yourself down, and increase blood flow to the head, which will assist you in falling asleep faster.
Meditation is one of the best ways you can combat stress and anxiety.
The practice of meditation is an opportunity to breathe and relax the mind while letting go of worries during the day. It will help you fall asleep faster as well as stay asleep longer.
Exercising daily can help to reduce fatigue and increase energy levels, which will assist you in being able to concentrate better on work and maintain your vigor throughout the day.
Exercise can also help improve the quality of sleep by promoting faster recovery from sleep deprivation and regulating your circadian rhythm, which will ensure a deeper level of sleep at night.