Sleep Health | Sleep Review
A new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sleep Research describes how parental nurses may be more prone to daily stress exacerbated by poor sleep. The impact of the sleep stressor link on caregivers with children can affect their care at home and at work, where caregivers represent the largest population of frontline health workers.
“We were really interested in studying how the sleep stressor relationship differs between parenting nurses and non-parenting nurses,” said lead author Taylor Harris, a PhD student in counseling psychology at the University of Kansas. in a statement. “We also wanted to investigate how many children parents further influence the relationship between sleep and stress in these working parents, because care at work and at home can be particularly difficult – sometimes we don’t always look at this intersection specifically in the most prominent health care profession, the Nursing. “
Harris and her co-authors, Taylor FD Vigoureux and Soomi Lee of the University of South Florida, recruited 60 nurses – both parents and non-parents – and asked them to track their sleep and stress levels for two weeks between May and September 2019 Track smartphones.
“We had a background survey that was distributed during the informed consent process and it contained only very basic demographics and work characteristics – nurses were full inpatient inpatients, either on the day shift or on the night shift,” Harris said. “Then the participants answered these short surveys on their smartphones for 14 days. We had them answer questions when we woke up and then three times a day so we could collect the data we needed. Sleep questions were included in the wake up survey, and the daily stressor questions were included in the three following surveys. “
Research confirmed a long-established truth in such studies: Parents are more likely to have poorer sleep than people without children.
“We all know that people who are parents sleep worse overall,” said Harris. “This could be because of the need to take children to appointments, or in general to attend to other needs – this can be diaper changing, feeding, eating or worrying about older children and worrying like children of develop from childhood to adulthood. Parents tend to have the added burden of sleeping harder. “
The study showed that this is particularly the case with caregivers: poorer sleep quality than usual was associated with more frequent and greater stress on the following day for caregivers with one child and two or more children, but not for non-parents. In addition, the more children there were at home, the greater the association between sleep quality and daily stressors.
“The most striking results were nightly sleep quality and stressor frequency, and then nightly sleep quality and stressor severity,” said Harris. “We see how the parental participants had this stronger link between poor sleep and the frequency and severity of stress, and show how, for this group of nurses – all either day or night workers – that link really worsens when they are a parent.
According to the American Nurses Association, stress is one of the “most influential problems caregivers face”. The ANA reports that this stress can degrade the health of caregivers themselves and patient outcomes – as well as the ability of caregivers to stay in the profession and the financial health of health care organizations.
“For nurses, poor sleep can result in decreased cognitive performance the next day, as well as poor job performance with a lower ability to stick to the task,” said Harris. “Then it extends into all areas of life, both at work and at home, and can even violate the role of care that is so important for the parent-child relationship.”
The KU graduate said health companies and organizations could work to reduce the stress of care and develop programs to improve the sleep of nurses, especially those who also have children.
“Sometimes we don’t think about the link between sleep stress and that can be really important in terms of intervention purposes for parenting nurses so that they can be better workers as well as better parents,” said Harris. “Caring at home and at work is really difficult, and being able to offer any type of intervention to help the nurses sleep better would then help lower the frequency and severity of stressors, and in turn one Promote better cognitive performance at work and simply better overall quality of life. “
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