Sleep Tips for Travel Nurses

The thrill of an exciting, new locale paired with the anticipation of new experiences and colleagues. The agony of the disruptions and adjustments, the adapting and schedule tweaking needed to get the kind of restful sleep a travel nurse’s challenging vocation demands.

Quality sleep is a must to perform at their best and genuinely enjoy the adventures travel nursing offers. But as these sought-after healthcare professionals soon discover, long shifts, hectic schedules, and weary minds and bodies do not ensure a person will fall easily into a peaceful slumber. Sadly, many travel nurses find that the peaceful sleep they crave is often difficult to get.

The first step to getting quality sleep is to understand that many factors impact sleep, including stress and anxiety, diet, daily habits, exercise, and a host of environmental issues. While some sleep-robbing factors are beyond our control, developing a healthy sleep routine is possible. Travel nurses can take charge of their sleep quality with these proactive sleep strategies to make their days and nights the best they can be.

Bring along the favorite and familiar

Whether housing is furnished or nurses secure their living arrangements, frequent travel lends itself to light packing. But don’t skimp when it comes to sleep accessories such as a favorite blanket, the set of sheets that keep you cool even in the heat of summer, or the only pillow that truly fits your neck. If necessary, fill an extra suitcase with the bedding essentials that will set the stage for consistent quality sleep.

Incorporate winding-down time into the pre-bedtime routine

Both the mind and body need time to wind down before falling asleep. But long work shifts and the hectic schedules they lead too often find travel nurses racing about right up to dropping into bed exhausted. Minds continue to whirl with replays of the day and planning for tomorrow. And tense muscles resist nestling into the comforts of bed. It’s much better to prepare for bedtime by stepping away from electronic devices for 30 to 60 minutes before slipping between the sheets. Avoid heart-pounding television shows opting instead for listening to music or reading a book.

Block out all light

Many people claim that a little (or even a lot) of light doesn’t bother them, murmuring variations of, “I’m usually so tired, light isn’t a factor.” But total darkness helps to trigger melatonin production so that we fall asleep faster and stay asleep without fitful periods of waking. Having a dark room is key to getting quality rest. Even the glow of the tiny blue, yellow, green, or red lights from electronic devices can disturb a person’s sleep. Install black-out curtains or blinds where applicable and pick up an eye mask.


Use a white noise machine or app

While the housing on your last travel assignment may have had a quiet environment for sleeping, that will likely not always be the case. Many people find that the calming, monotonous background noise from a “sleep machine” or sleep app on their phone blocks out boisterous neighbors, street noise, or environmental distractions. Soothing sounds help lull the mind and the body into a state that invites restful sleep.

Making sleep a priority is an investment in one’s career and hopefully, these quick tips will help you enjoy many, many nights of restful sleep.




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