Self-care is a broad concept that encompasses a wide range of health subjects, including life balance, stress reduction, weight loss, nutrition, relationships, spirituality, and much more. It’s difficult to choose only one aspect of your life to improve in order to be happier and healthier. But it’s true, and it might help your self-care path go more smoothly.

This is most likely the most important field in which you will boost your health and happiness. Odd shifts and changing schedules don’t help the body control cycles, so nurses are infamous for not having enough good sleep on a regular basis. Fatigue is bad enough, but it’s much worse when a sleep-deprived nurse nods off at the bedside or when driving home after a late shift. Obviously, this is incredibly dangerous—for you, your patients, and everybody in your immediate vicinity.

Most Americans don’t get enough sleep (seven to eight hours), and many of us see it as a privilege we can’t afford or try to “bank” sleep by sleeping for five hours on work nights and ten on weekends. We like to think that getting by on little sleep is a sign of superhuman strength and that those who put their sleep first are slackers. None of those assumptions is true. Given our hyperactive society’s erroneous perception of rest and sleep, here’s how you can take care of yourself.

The Fundamentals of Sleep Hygiene

Following good sleep hygiene guidelines can help with chronic sleep loss and sleep disturbances including sleep apnea. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Caffeine can be avoided later in the day. (This includes soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, and tea, among other things.)
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all, as it’s more likely that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night after a few drinks.
  • Another excuse to quit smoking is that nicotine makes it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep.
  • Finish the last meal of the day a few hours before bedtime to avoid digestion problems.
  • Heavy exercise should not be done late at night, though gentle stretching or yoga can be a relaxing way to start the night.

Creating a Relaxation-Friendly Environment

Slowing down and getting ready for bed is more difficult when you’re surrounded by digital sights and sounds. Younger nurses, who grew up with social media, are more likely to email, post, Pinterest, and watch movies in their bedrooms. Make it a rule not to use your tablet, iPad, or other electronic devices in bed. You won’t be tempted by social media, news, or entertainment until the lights are switched off this way. Some nurses go so far as to set a digital curfew and switch off devices two to three hours before bedtime.

Throughout your life, sleep is important to your health and well-being. Getting enough good sleep at the right times will benefit your mental and physical health, as well as your quality of life and safety.

What happens when you’re sleeping has an impact on how you feel while you’re awake. Your body works to help healthy brain activity and preserve your physical health as you sleep. Sleep also aids the growth and development of children and teenagers.

Sleep deprivation can cause immediate harm (such as in a car accident), or it can cause long-term harm. For example, chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing some chronic health problems.

Many factors influence how the body prepares to sleep and wake up. Your body has an internal “body clock” that regulates when you’re awake and when it’s time to sleep.

A 24-hour repeating pattern is common for the body clock (called the circadian rhythm). This rhythm is regulated by the interaction of two processes. The first is a growing need to sleep with each hour you are awake. The need to sleep peaks in the evening, when the majority of people fall asleep.

Adenosine (ah-DEN-o-seen) seems to be one of the factors related to this need to sleep. Adenosine levels in the brain begin to increase when you’re awake.

The rise in this compound’s level indicates a turn toward sleep. Adenosine is broken down by the body when you sleep.

Your internal body clock is involved in a second operation. This clock is in line with some environmental cues. When it comes to deciding when you are awake and when you are drowsy, sun, darkness, and other cues will help.

Light signals received from your eyes, for example, alert a specific part of your brain that it is daytime. This part of your brain is responsible for synchronising your body clock with the hours of the day and night.

Your body clock regulates the release of chemicals in your body on a regular basis. Melatonin is a chemical that your body produces when it gets late.

Melatonin makes you feel drowsy by signalling to your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep.

As the evening progresses, the amount of melatonin in your bloodstream increases. This peak, according to researchers, is an important part of your body’s preparation for sleep.

Late-night exposure to bright artificial light will interrupt this mechanism, making it difficult to fall asleep. A TV screen, computer screen, or a very bright alarm clock are all examples of bright artificial light.

Your body releases cortisol as the sun rises. This hormone helps the body wake up naturally.

With age, the body clock’s rhythm and timing shift. Teenagers and adults sleep later than younger children and adults. Melatonin is released and rises later in the 24-hour period for teenagers, which is one explanation for this. As a result, many adolescents prefer later bedtimes at night and more sleep in the morning than adults.

Early in life, when people are rising and evolving, they need more sleep. Newborns, for example, can sleep for up to 16 hours a day, while preschoolers need naps.

Early evening is when young children sleep the most. Teenagers have a proclivity for sleeping in the morning. In addition, older people have a tendency to go to bed and wake up earlier.