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March 27, 2024/Nursing/Wellness

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: The Importance of Sleep Hygiene (Podcast)

Advice for preventing the negative physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation

Up to 70 million people in the United States meet the criteria for sleep deprivation, sleeping less than the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Nurses who work 12-hour shifts, night shifts and swing shifts are certainly among them.


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“Sleep is as important as diet and exercise for good health, but sleep is not a priority in our fast-paced society,” says Robon Vanek, MSN, RN, CNP, an advanced practice nurse in Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center.

In the latest episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Nurse Essentials podcast, Vanek discusses sleep habits and the importance of a good night’s sleep. She covers:

  • Forms of sleep deprivation, including insomnia and poor sleep quality
  • Symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability and slow reaction times
  • How sleep deprivation affects physical and mental health
  • Advice for nurses on forming good sleep habits
  • Napping and fatigue management

Click the podcast player above to listen to the episode now, or read on for a short edited excerpt. Check out more Nurse Essentials episodes at my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/nurse-essentials or wherever you get your podcasts.

Podcast excerpt

Podcast host Carol Pehotsky, DNP, RN, NEA-BC: Just because I get that seven to nine hours in bed doesn't mean it's healthy. What does that look like? How do I get to that healthy place?


Vanek: So, that is good quality of sleep.That includes the factors of sleep onset – or how long it takes to fall asleep. Healthy sleep onset on average is usually about 10 to 20 minutes. You can go 30 minutes, but beyond that, there's a problem.

Another factor of good quality sleep is what people working in sleep medicine called WASO, which is wake after sleep onset. With good quality sleep, this means sleeping through the night or not having any or many disruptions.

Pehotsky: I want to go back to the 10 to 20 or 30 minutes to fall asleep. So, it's past 30 minutes, what do I do?

Vanek: You get out of bed. You go to another room, and you do something boring – sitting quietly, listening to some very soft music, meditating – and then when you feel sleepy, going back into the bedroom to go to sleep.

Pehotsky: And going back to the WASO. Is it I wake up once and that's not good? What's sort of a threshold for where we would say, "This is too many times I'm waking up in the middle of the night?"

Vanek: Well, it really depends because there are some people who have physical discomfort and that's waking them up. There are some people who are waking up because of untreated sleep apnea. They can wake up every couple of hours. Sometimes it's having prostate problems, and you've got to go have the bathroom break.

And then, it also depends on how quickly people fall back to sleep. Some people just feel wired. They feel so awake, and it's so hard to get back to sleep.

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