Four steps to secure quality sleep

Four steps to secure quality sleep

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on the importance of sleep, as more and more research show just how important sleep is for both our bodies, brains and overall health. Therefore, sleep is also becoming an area of great attention within the healthcare sector. However, ensuring that a client gets the proper amount of sleep is not as easy as it sound.

21. October 2019

By: Occupational Therapist, Pia Beck

Why is sleep so important?

Today, we have to live up to a lot of demands from both our work life and social life. Therefore, sleep is in short supply for many. However, underestimating sleep is a very bad idea! This is because sleep has great significance for both your body and your brain.

When we sleep, we go through different stages, which have their own purpose. Particularly, deep sleep is important. It is during this phase that our brain is washed free of toxins.

If we don’t get enough deep sleep toxins will accumulate in the brain. This means, that the brain will react slower, we have a harder time remembering things and that we generally perform worse than usual.

This influences our work efforts but more importantly our health.

In the end, poor sleep quality or too little sleep can lead to a deterioration of our immune system and lead to serious conditions such as obesity, vascular diseases and stress. Research has also shown that people who work night shifts shorten their lives by 5-7 years.

Ensuring proper sleep quality

Sleep is also important for the clients we care for every day. However, it can be difficult to know if a client is getting the necessary hours of sleep he or she needs and even more difficult to know if the sleep they are getting is of a high enough quality.

Therefore, it is important to look into signs from the client that their sleep quality is poor. For instance, are they dozing off even before they have had their breakfast? Or are they sleeping a lot throughout the day?

To improve the client’s sleep quality, it is necessary to create the best circumstances for sleep. This includes taking elements such as light, heat, noise and other interruptions into consideration.

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Below you will find 4 steps to secure a good sleep:

  • Make sure it is dark where the client is sleeping: Light from lamps and screens should be minimized before and during sleep. Light from screens such as tablets and TVs are of the same frequency as sunlight, which makes the brain think that it is daytime. Therefore, all lights should be off. Clients who are afraid of the dark should gradually be accustomed to sleeping with the lights off, or have a nightlight placed away from the bed.
  • Ensure stable positioning: In order to have a good night’s sleep it is crucial to lie comfortably. Therefore, you have to ensure a stable positioning, which means that the client feels safe and can relax. This is done with suited materials, which besides stability also ensures that the client doesn’t overheat.
  • Avoid disturbances during the night: For instance, is it possible to not leave the door open during the night? Does the night watch check the clients more than needed? All of these small disturbances during the night can contribute to a poor night’s sleep for the client.
  • Napping and boredom: The easiest way to cure boredom is to have a nap. But if the client has trouble sleeping at night it is possible that their nap times should be shortened and that they should be activated more during the day.

There can be a lot of elements that disturb the clients sleep, and an individual assessment has to be made in order to identify what methods to use in the concrete situation in order to create a better sleep quality.