Sleep Patients: Do as I Say, Not as I Do
How many times have you heard the saying "do as I say, not as I do?" Well, that's what I should have been telling patients this week. I try to teach our patients about sleep hygiene. I talk about sleep routines and bedroom environment and having the pet sleep anywhere but in the bed. Well, this week I broke all the rules. In the end, I paid the price.
Due to unexpected issues, I had beds booked without a technician to cover them. Because we are a small lab that does not have an over abundance of technicians, there is only one solution to this type of problem: I get to rotate onto nights.
Unfortunately, this two night shift rotation was coming after taking a day off. This meant I needed to catch up on my missed work, plus do this extra work.
I worked Tuesday and Wednesday for 9 hours. Then I came in Thursday, worked a 6-hour day and then came back to do a 12-hour night. Trust me: at 3 am, I was fighting sleep. (I remember when I was younger and this 24 hour work day really was not a big deal. As I reach my mid-forties, it is getting a lot tougher.)
When I woke up Friday morning, my biggest fear happened. I woke my son for school and he had caught the latest bug. I knew what was going to come, but there is not a lot I could do to prevent it.
Of course, my challenge sleeping during the day is that I do not do it very often and I live in an apartment with a Westie. I also have an upstairs neighbor who has three children under 5 years old. Needless to say, sleeping during the day presents challenges of noise that really do not help. So, I turn on a CD with relaxation and sleep inducing music. I find it definitely helps but still does not help me get more then 4 hours of sleep.
Now it is Wednesday and I am sitting here typing between sniffling and coughing. I know it was my poor sleep that left me susceptible to this bug. I know what I really needed to do was to get a good sleep. I know that my patients really wonder who this sniffley person calling them to schedule their test is and whether I will make them sick when they come in for their study. So now my tech laughs at me and says that I should listen to my own advice and make sure I get a good night sleep.