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Why sleep is important for sharps safety?

June 10, 2015

Getting enough sleep at night is important for everyone as it helps to ensure that workers remain in good physical and mental health. However, it is essential that those working in the healthcare industry get an adequate amount of rest. 

There are a number of positive impacts that getting enough sleep can have on all people, but will be of special importance to those who work in the healthcare industry:

Lowers stress
Research has shown that those who get a good night's sleep are more likely to have lower stress levels, which is crucial for healthcare workers. As many in the industry already have a job, which can be highly stressful at times, finding anything that can lower this will help keep workers in good physical and mental health. This is especially important when looking at sharps safety, as professionals who are experiencing a lot of stress may be more likely to make a mistake when giving an injection.

Improves concentration
Getting enough rest at night has been proven to increase levels of concentration. This is crucial for healthcare workers as keeping focused on the task at hand makes it much less likely that an accident like a needlestick injury will occur.

Having enough sleep at night can boost concentration levels in all areas of work, but this can be crucial for surgeons and nurses who work with medical sharps on a regular basis. Research has shown that sleep is crucial for thinking and learning, which is essential if managers are teaching sharps safety for the first time or a new procedure has come into force. Not getting enough rest can limit these cognitive processes in many ways as it can impair attention and concentration, but also makes it less likely that workers will remember it long-term. During sleep memories are consolidated, which helps people to remember what they have learned during the day.

Fatigue can cause accidents
Research has shown that a lack of sleep can make people more forgetful, which in a healthcare setting can mean accidents are more likely to occur. The study found that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory, and also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. These sharp wave ripples occur when in deep sleep, making getting a good night's rest crucial for those who want to stay on top of their game at work.

Studies have also shown that not getting enough sleep or poor-quality rest can lead to accidents at work. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents. They also had more sick days per accident.

Although healthcare workers often have irregular shift patterns, which can affect sleep, and a job that can be extremely stressful, it's important that hospital managers ensure there are measures in place to encourage them to get a good night's sleep.

This can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing, as well as how likely they are to comply to safety measures such as adhering to sharp regulations.

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