Reflective accounts

Healthy sleep

A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the importance and benefits of sleep.

A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s knowledge of the importance and benefits of sleep


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What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article provided information about the process and purpose of sleep, and examined the ways in which factors that promote wakefulness and sleep combine to establish a normal circadian rhythm. 

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed several theories relating to the function of sleep. I learned that sleep is considered beneficial for cellular repair and regeneration, energy conservation, and processing experiences and thoughts in such a way that they can be used in future. 

Sustained sleep deficit is usually defined as consistently achieving less than six hours sleep per night, and is associated with several potential consequences. Short-term consequences of sleep deficit can include impaired mental health, a low level of concentration and irritability. People who are sleep deprived are also increasingly prone to mistakes or accidents. Longer-term consequences of sleep deficit may include increased risk of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. 

The article also stated that failure to address sleep deficit among staff working at night can adversely affect their clinical practice. 

How did you change or improve your practice?

Reading the article has encouraged me to consider the importance of sleep and to consider my own sleeping patterns. I intend to keep a sleep diary for 14 nights, using the link provided in the article, to identify the volume and pattern of sleep I have each night.

I will share the article’s information about the effects of sleep deficit on clinical practice with my colleagues. I also plan to recommend that rest breaks are provided for staff during night shifts, which may reduce feelings of tiredness, thus supporting safe and effective practice. 

I am aware of the many environmental factors that can disrupt patients’ sleep, such as bright lighting, noise and loud conversations. Where possible, I will take appropriate action to improve patients’ sleeping environment, which may also reduce risks to their health associated with suboptimal sleep.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

The article provided up-to-date, evidence-based information that nurses can use to advise patients on the best ways to achieve and sustain sleep. This is relevant to the theme of practising effectively.

The article also emphasised that sleep deficit can have a negative effect on the performance of healthcare staff and should be addressed. This is relevant to the theme of promoting professionalism and trust, which states that nurses must maintain the level of health they need to carry out their professional role.

Rose Gallacher is a staff nurse at Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley


The reflective account in this issue is based on NS834 Price B (2016) Promoting healthy sleep. Nursing Standard. 30, 28, 49-58 

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form. Complete the four questions about a CPD article you have read, writing about 700 words in total.

The authors of reflective accounts that are published in Nursing Standard receive a £50 book token. Details of how to submit your reflective account for publication are available here.

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