Q: ICU workforce at night can eliminate sleepiness by daytime sleep?
Intensivists, mid-levels, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and all other healthcare workers who work at night or on schedule with rotating day/night shifts struggle with sleep cycles.
Unfortunately, daytime sleep does not fully eliminate sleepiness during the nocturnal hours.
One effective trick is to take a short (power) nap either just before or during the shift. Nap is recommended to be restricted below an hour to avoid entering the deep-sleep phase and disorientation from sleep inertia.
Coffee: Coffee helps! but should be limited to the early half of the night shift to avoid insomnia later in the day. One study showed that one single cup/dose of coffee/caffeine at the beginning of the night shift is better than the intermittent or divided doses throughout the shift 6. This prevents tolerance to caffeine.
Wake-promoting agent i.e., modafinil or armodafinil has been suggested during the shift but should be monitored and prescribed by an experienced clinician.
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