Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sleep


Working the night shift for a few years has jumbled my internal sleep clock.  If I did not have to work and had no real schedule, I would probably sleep 12-14 hours and then be up for an entire day/24 hours.  I might sleep during the day, evening, or night.  I seem to have lost a natural time of day when my body wants to shut down and sleep.  I sometimes have bursts of energy that keep me awake all night, and then I pay for the nocturnal productivity by dragging myself through the day.

I purchased a beautiful, comfortable bed with gorgeous sheets, pillows, and comforters in anticipation of sleeping at night, in the dark- a luxury that eluded me when I worked the night shift.  Now that I switched to days, I can't establish a sleeping routine.

Provigil (modafinil) is a drug that is marketed to health care workers for Shift Work Sleep Disorder.  I am not big on taking medications, maybe because I give out so many pills to my patients, or maybe because I'll miss a nap waiting to be seen in the doctor's office.  I also keep thinking that if I put myself on a proper time schedule and then stick to it, I can fix this problem myself without medication.  Provigil is also controlled, meaning that I will have to visit the doctor for a written prescription every month, present same to the pharmacy, wait for refill, do this in a timely fashion to not miss a dose:  and it seems like too much hassle.  Or maybe I don't have the energy to do this right now, but I will have the energy and willpower after taking the medication for a while.

Proper sleep provides plenty of restorative benefits to your body that you may not immediately recognize, such as lower blood pressure and decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.  When I have not had enough sleep, I am slow, forgetful, irritable, and hungry.  When I feel rested, I am calmer and better able to cope with the daily challenges of being a Nurse.

What will I do?  I am not sure.  Coffee with a caffeine kick does nothing for me.  Maybe I will try to be in bed by midnight every night, no matter what, so that I can arise at 5 a.m.

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