Tips for Getting Better Sleep During a Travel Nursing Assignment

November 12 / Posted by Christi Hintz

Sleep is something we all seem to need more of. It can be especially difficult for those who already have trouble sleeping to get a restful night’s sleep when they’re travelling to a new place. If this is you, then as a travel nurse you may have already experienced how much of an inconvenience this can be. But it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker-  there are things you can do to make getting a good night’s sleep easier even when you’re in a new city. Try a few of these tips.


Create a Good Sleeping Environment


The right environment can make a big difference in helping you feel more relaxed. For example, If you’re staying in a busy city or experience noisy neighbors, bring earplugs to minimize the noise. If you don’t have earplugs or prefer a different route, white noise is a great option and is easy enough to find on the internet and play from your phone or computer. If you work night shifts, it is especially important that you make sure that you’re keeping your room as dark as possible. A sleep mask can be used to further block out the light if your lodging is inadequate at keeping the daylight out.


Adding familiarity to your environment is another great way to make it more relaxing. Sleeping in an unfamiliar place can make you feel a bit unsettled, and lend to more difficult sleep. Try bringing home comforts like your favorite bedding, pictures, or home fragrances.


Prepare for Jet Lag


If you’re traveling to the other side of the country, you can prepare for the possibility of jet lag by changing your sleep schedule ahead of time. Even just being off by a few hours can affect your ability to get to sleep and feel well rested afterwards. For the days leading up to your assignment, try to act, eat, and sleep as if you’re already in the new time zone you’ll be travelling to. This will mean that a lot of the transitioning will happen while you’re still in the comfort of your own home and without the pressure of the first few days of a new assignment looming over you.


Adopt a Regular Bedtime Routine


You may have given this suggestion to new parents concerning their child, but it works well for adults too. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for bed each night by adopting a consistent bedtime routine. This can be whatever you want it to be, but here are a few suggestions: set a time before bed where you’ll stop using electronics for the night, brush your teeth, wash your face, take a shower, do some light reading on a subject that doesn’t get you too excited or anxious – and/or anything else that contributes to you being more relaxed and establishes consistency before bed.


Take Time to Reduce Stress


Everyday stress can interfere with your sleep, so it’s important to take time to care for yourself. Journaling, exercise, and meditation are just a few ways that you can practice self care and help clear your mind for a better night’s sleep.


More than just typical stress? If you have concerns about your mental health, talk with your doctor.


How do you get better sleep while you’re on assignment? What tricks have worked for you? Leave your own suggestions in the comments below and help out your fellow travel nurses!

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