Reflective accounts

Reflective account – promoting healthy sleep

A CPD article updated Georgina O’Reilly-Foley’s knowledge of the benefits of sleeping well.

A CPD article updated Georgina O’Reilly-Foley’s knowledge of the benefits of sleeping well

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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 CPD article discussed strategies to promote healthy sleep. It considered theories related to the function of sleep and the potential consequences of sleep deficit.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?
This article provided information about the mechanisms of sleep and how the human body benefits from it. Nurses should be aware of the physical and psychological benefits of sleep to provide care for patients and themselves. The article discussed how to optimise the environment to enable high quality sleep, for example by reducing noise levels and lowering the lights in the evening. While the article stated that it may be better for patients not to have alarms or wake-up calls, in a hospital this is not always possible because of the ward routine. It may be beneficial to encourage patients to nap later in the day if they feel they need more sleep.

Observing patients’ sleep patterns and behaviours can be useful, since it may enable staff to identify health problems.
For example, a patient may snore but not be aware of the effects it can have on their quality of sleep, airways and heart. If the issue is identified, the patient can then seek help and advice. Another example would be if a patient has been sleepwalking or experiencing ‘night terrors’, which may indicate that they have high levels of anxiety.

These examples demonstrate how nurses can provide holistic care and act as an advocate for patients. This may involve providing education about healthy sleep and referring patients to specialist services. The article emphasised the importance of nurses maintaining their own health, and promoting healthy lifestyle habits. Maintaining sleep hygiene – the habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis – reduces the risk of sustaining a back injury because the body has time to recover from shift work.

How did you change or improve your practice?
After reading this article, I will ensure that I routinely ask patients how they have slept, and how their sleep environment and comfort could be improved. I also intend to ask patients about their sleep hygiene when they are admitted to the ward.

Since mobile phones and laptops have been found to disrupt the melatonin levels in the brain, I plan to advise patients who are having difficulty sleeping not to use electronic devices just before they go to bed, and instead suggest that they read a book or magazine to relax. I will discuss improving the ward routine with my colleagues so that it is more sleep-friendly.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust
One theme of The Code is to practise effectively. This article has enabled me to update my knowledge about healthy sleep, and encouraged me to promote healthy night-time routines. I can use this information to advise patients on how to improve their sleep, and also use it myself to enable me to work effectively.

Georgina O’Reilly-Foley is a nursing student at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Essex


This reflective account is based on NS834 Price B (2016) Promoting healthy sleep. Nursing Standard. 30, 28, 49-58. The questions are the same as those on the NMC templates that UK nurses and midwives must use for revalidation.

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 the CPD article you have just read, writing about 800 words in total. Details of how to submit your reflective account are available here

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