<aside> 💡 Share this link with all your shelter medicine colleagues and friends. Vidaah provides 24/7 veterinary support to caregivers who may want to call you in the middle of the night and interrupt your precious sleep. Learn more at: www.vidaah.vet
In our modern, fast-paced world, the importance of sleep hygiene cannot be overstated. Sleep hygiene profoundly impacts both sleep quality and mental well-being, as these aspects are intricately interconnected. While the physical effects of sleep deprivation are commonly recognized, the psychological consequences are equally significant. This issue is particularly pronounced for on-call medical professionals. This imbalance leads to high levels of burnout and a poor work-life balance within the industry. Compounding the problem, shelter veterinarians often have to be on-call overnight and on weekends, which results in disrupted sleep patterns and can contribute to long-term physiological and psychological challenges.
Methods used to understand how outsourcing on-call duties to Vidaah’s teletriage service can impact Shelter Veterinarians.
Replacing in-shelter on-call duties by outsourcing with Vidaah, can lead shelter medicine teams to get better rest and improve their work-life balance, reducing the risk of burnout. This allows the shelter medicine team to concentrate on caring for the animals in care at the shelter or during regular work hours. It also can improve the chances that the medical professional will remain working in shelter medicine instead of seeking veterinary jobs that do not require on-call commitments.
Visit vidaah.vet to get started today!
Sleep hygiene refers to the practices and habits that optimize sleep quality, largely revolving around controlling your environment and pre-bedtime behaviors. Key aspects include ensuring your bedroom is completely dark to promote melatonin production and removing light-emitting devices such as phones and TVs. Comfort in your bedroom is also vital, including choosing the right mattress and bedding, and potentially refreshing the room's aesthetics if negative associations are present. Establishing a sleep routine similar to childhood habits can help your body adjust, such as morning exercise and evening reading. While these sleep hygiene improvements can enhance sleep quality, additional measures may be necessary for individuals with insomnia.
While often overlooked, light significantly affects our sleep quality due to its impact on melatonin production, a hormone regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to light, especially sunlight, in the morning, enhances melatonin production in the evening, promoting faster and deeper sleep. Hence, maximizing light exposure during the day is beneficial, particularly between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Conversely, exposure to artificial blue light from screens in the evening hinders melatonin release, impairing sleep. As such, reducing screen time an hour before bed and ensuring a pitch-black sleeping environment can substantially enhance sleep quality. Essentially, coordinating our sleep with natural light-dark cycles can optimize our sleep timing and quality.
Maintaining a healthy body and mind is crucial for good sleep. Exercise benefits sleep by inducing the release of rejuvenating hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone for muscle repair, leading to deeper, more restorative sleep. Magnesium, involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, can reduce stress, balance blood sugar levels, and relax muscles, resulting in a more relaxed state and better sleep quality. It is best to apply magnesium in cream form to the skin as oral supplements lose potency during digestion. Melatonin supplementation may be useful for insomniacs, but it should be a last resort due to the risk of inhibiting the body's natural production. Mental health is also critical for sleep quality; meditation helps manage the multitude of daily thoughts, reducing stress and releasing endorphins to prime us for sleep.
Sleep quality is highly dependent on timing due to our innate circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, which can be disrupted by irregular sleep schedules like late weekend nights. Maintaining consistent sleep and wake times can lead to easier falling asleep and waking up. Early to bed, early to rise, as per the natural pattern of diurnal species like humans, has been shown to have benefits such as higher academic achievement. Our bodies are evolutionarily hardwired to respond to patterns of light and darkness, a trait modern conveniences like artificial lighting can disrupt. The "magic window" for sleep between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., when peak melatonin and human growth hormone production occurs, provides the most rejuvenating sleep, suggesting the importance of aligning sleep schedules with our inherent biological rhythms.
To optimize sleep, it's important to consider lifestyle habits in conjunction with our biological understanding of sleep. Setting a caffeine curfew is crucial, as caffeine, a stimulant that blocks adenosine, a chemical causing sleepiness, has a long half-life and can disrupt sleep if consumed late in the day. Limiting evening alcohol consumption can improve sleep quality, as alcohol interferes with the deep stages of sleep and REM sleep, vital for memory processing. However, engaging in activities that naturally induce sleep, such as experiencing an orgasm before bed, can enhance sleep. The release of chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins during orgasm act as natural stress reducers and facilitate sleep.
Poor sleep can influence food choices and cravings. Sleep-deprived individuals tend to have increased cravings for high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods. This may be due to the impact of sleep on brain regions involved in reward processing and decision-making, leading to a preference for unhealthy food options. Lack of sleep can also impact energy balance by affecting the body's metabolism. Sleep deprivation has been associated with decreased resting metabolic rate and reduced glucose tolerance, potentially contributing to weight gain and an increased risk of developing conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Additionally, insufficient sleep can disrupt the balance of two key hormones: leptin, which suppresses appetite, and ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of ghrelin and decreased leptin levels, potentially leading to overeating and weight gain.
Ultimately, the decision to listen to music while falling asleep is subjective. It's important to listen to your body and choose an option that promotes a restful night's sleep. If you're uncertain, try a trial period of listening to music before bed and evaluate how it affects your sleep quality.
Here are is one we made to get you started: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2MDzS8CcNVv0IEy13Awwqo?si=79d6b8e500754909
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