In the recent Health Needs Assessment we distributed amongst staff as part of our work towards the next level of the Better Health at Work Award, colleagues indicated a desire for increased support around the areas of weight, sleep and mental health.

Today we have launched a brand new webpage focused on sleep, including information and detail around what constitutes good sleep hygiene, how you can better your sleep and the importance of sleep, rest and breaks.

As noted over on our newest webpage, tiredness is proven is proven to impact our ability to deliver safe, effective and quality care. As well as increasing risk to patient safety, fatigue also increases your risk of issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression and more. Despite this, 6 in 10 colleagues in healthcare say they do not take breaks.

Due to the nature of our work, many of us may find ourselves skipping breaks and sleep, pretty much always in the intention of putting our patients and work first. However, studies tell us that is often counterintuitive – that we make better decisions, are capable of better reactions and are more empathetic when we put ourselves first and ensure that we take breaks, for example.

Putting yourself first – Take breaks, get rest, sleep well:

We need to change this – both to help ensure that we’re encouraging you to steer clear of negative consequences of fatigue, and to the benefit of our patients too.

Ultimately, this will be a more cultural shift and requires the buy-in of all from across the organisation to help make it work. We’re asking you to begin having open conversations within your team, to discuss what can be done to better support and encourage eachother in good practices when it comes to breaks, rest and sleep.

To begin, you could help us promote discussion, changes and action by downloading and displaying our ‘5 ways towards a break-taking culture’ poster, detailing some of the ways we could all chip in to get us on a better path.

Over on our sleep page, you’ll also find information around relevant support available to you – whether it’s how free premium app memberships to the likes of Headspace and Unmind could help you sleep better; how our on-site sleeping pods can help you get rest on or after a shift; advice for those working nightshifts; how facilities like our Sanctuary Room and Listening Space can provide you with a peaceful area to decompress; where you can access professional support or otherwise.

CBT for Insomnia:

On the note of professional support, the NENC ICS Staff Wellbeing Hub are running another Cognitive Behavioural Therapy group intervention for those experiencing insomnia, with limited places remaining.

The four-week course is comprised of weekly 90 minute sessions, and is set to be delivered via Microsoft Teams. Places are available through the Wellbeing Hub, and if you are interested in the course you are asked to call the Hub via 0191 223 2030 or email them on [email protected].

Dates for the course are Tuesday 27th June, Tuesday 4th July, Tuesday 11th July and Tuesday 25th July. The aim of the programme is to explore the relationship between thoughts, feelings and expectations around sleep that may be in themselves barriers to you getting a good night’s rest. The behavioural part of the programme meanwhile supports you in changing your behaviours, habits and routines based on the science of sleep, helping you to achieve better sleep hygiene.

Further support ideas:

As noted above, we’re currently exploring ways to expand our support provision across the areas of sleep, weight and mental health in response to your feedback. We are always open to ideas and welcome any suggestions via email on [email protected] or our virtual suggestion box.