Lesson #4: The Importance of Sleep

Lesson #4: The Importance of Sleep


We all know that when we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t feel well. We drag through the day and feel like we lack the energy to even complete our ADL’s let alone take care of our families or our patients. Check out the video below and I will explain a few things that have helped me over the last 20 years being a nurse and parent just like you working shift work, 12 hour shifts, 16 hour shifts, weekends and holidays.

Thank you for checking out the video and like I said, we all know that sleep is important. Really important. Our bodies need sleep to function, heal, and recharge. If we don’t get enough sleep, well your body suffers. So remember:

  1. Try to sleep at the same time no matter what shift you are working to try to keep healthy sleep schedule. If you get off that schedule don’t go to sleep thinking that you are going to wake up tired because you are going to bed an hour later than normal. If you think that before you go to sleep, you WILL wake up tired!
  2. During sleep, leptin levels increase, telling your brain you have plenty of energy for the time being and there’s no need to trigger the feeling of hunger or the burning of calories. When you don’t get enough sleep, you end up with too little leptin in your body, which, through a series of steps, makes your brain think you don’t have enough energy for your needs. So your brain tells you you’re hungry, even though you don’t actually need food at that time, and it takes steps to store the calories you eat as fat so you’ll have enough energy the next time you need it. The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism.
  3. Not getting enough restful sleep can affect your emotional health. In other words, a chronic lack of sleep can cause depression. Although it is unlikely that lack of sleep alone can be the sole cause of depression, it combined with other factors can trigger depression in some people.  Links between depression and lack of sleep have been commonly found in studies.

Your assignment today is to try to track your sleep. There are a lot of ways to track your sleep and all I want you to do is simply track your times that you went to bed, for how long, and how you felt you slept. Let’s use the 1-10 scale with 1 being horrible and 10 you slept like a rock! Try to track for at least a few cycles of your shifts if you are a shift worker. (So if you work 7 on 7 off, try to track for 14 days rather than just 7)


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