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Sleep seems pretty simple, right. You lay down at night and drift off into a deep and dreamless sleep to wake up refreshed 8 hours later. If only that were true for everyone, especially nurses. With high demand jobs, long shifts, and the demands of life at home, you’re lucky to get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you’re working while sleep deprived, it can cause major mistakes that will affect you, the patients in your care, and your career. How do you combat sleep deprivation and stay alert on the job?

  • Enough sleep. 8 hours is the right amount, right? Well, it turns out the science isn’t exact. 8 hours is a guideline, but everyone will have different sleep needs. Some adults can function fine on as little as 5 hours sleep, while others may need closer to 10 to be productive. Your body will tell you how much sleep is not enough. If you feel sleepy during the day, you’re not getting enough. Give yourself a better nighttime routine to encourage healthier sleep patterns, such as going to bed at the same time each day and avoiding technology or meals in the hours before.
  • A sleep debt. Without the right amount of sleep, you’ll go into sleep debt. Your body will be determined to make up the sleep any way it can. You may feel drowsy, unfocused, can even fall asleep in dangerous situations, like at work or behind the wheel. You can be slow to respond, your reflexes stilted, you’ll have impaired judgement, and might even experience memory problems. This isn’t even considered sleep deprivation, so make sure you’re add more sleep into your sleep bank to avoid worse repercussions.
  • Sleep deprivation. Continued sleep deprivation can have long term, lasting, physical effects. Sleep deprivation studies show that it is as dangerous as being intoxicated behind the wheel or on the job. If you’ve lost track of what you’ve been doing or can’t physically keep your eyes open, you’re experiencing sleep deprivation. It’s important to resolve right away before it negatively impacts someone else either on the job or on the road.

Are you looking for a job with a better schedule? Contact Fortus Healthcare Solutions today to learn more.

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