A hospital may never sleep, but it relies on its staff to be alert at all times. Working in the NHS can be one of the most tiring jobs there is. A good night’s rest is vital for healthcare workers as research confirms.
A fifth of NHS staff work rotational shift patterns. This allows the health service to provide 24/7 care. However, it can play havoc with the rest that key workers can get.
The COVID-19 pandemic made matters significantly worse. Already hardworking staff had to expend more physical and emotional energy than ever before. The additional stress of caring for so many ill and dying patients has had an exponential impact upon the mental health and sleep patterns of front line workers.
The state of sleep in healthcare staff
Research published in the British Medical Journal on the impact of sleep deprivation in clinical and healthcare staff reveals that it can have dangerous consequences for patient safety and the mental wellbeing of workers. Road safety is also highlighted as being a notable risk factor for tired and worn out staff driving home after a shift.
Studies conducted around the world conclude that significant numbers of people working in the health sector in a wide variety of countries report problems sleeping. In Japan, the number of staff who confirmed they had difficulty gaining a restful night’s sleep was reported at 31%, in Italy, it was 25% and in Iran, as high as 43%.
We should also point out that this isn’t limited to frontline staff either. The surveys mentioned above also included office staff in the healthcare arena who are often equally exposed to stressful situations with the potential for their work to impact their sleep patterns.
Improving sleep for NHS staff
Fewer tired staff in the NHS can result in improved patient care and outcomes, plus an improved work-life balance for workers, better mental health and increased job satisfaction.
The situation is improving within the NHS. More and more trusts are establishing sleep pods for staff to get some shut-eye on their breaks and there are a growing number of staff initiatives that guide workers through relaxation techniques and strategies for enabling a restful evening (or day if you’re working night shifts!).
We recognise just how important it is for healthcare staff to be well-rested and be able to implement beneficial sleep routines. So, we have teamed up with several businesses to bring you exclusive NHS discounts on products designed to aid your sleep patterns. Simply search the word “sleep” on our home page to bring up the latest offers. Sweet dreams!