You Can Help Your OT Clients Get More Sleep

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Checking the Pulse

AOTA's Checking the Pulse blog is written by digital editor Stephanie Yamkovenko who reads hundreds of health and policy articles weekly to find the most engaging and enlightening content. Go beyond the news and learn how it affects OT.

You Can Help Your OT Clients Get More Sleep

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How much sleep did your clients get last night? Make sure you’re addressing the important occupation of sleep.

Person sleeping on sofaWe rounded up some articles and a podcast that you can use to educate your clients on how a lack of sleep has serious consequences. If your clients want to know how occupational therapy can help them sleep better, read on!

Several major news organizations have been reporting on the importance of sleep lately featuring interviews with neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker.

This article in the Guardian says, “an adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night would be predicted to live only to their early 60s without medical intervention.”

This piece by NPR featured more startling facts:

  • Every disease that is killing us in developed nations has causal and significant links to a lack of sleep, which makes the maxim “you can sleep when you’re dead” very unwise advice!
  • Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain.
  • If you think caffeine after dinner doesn’t affect you because you fall asleep easily, Walker says the caffeine in your body is affecting the depth of your sleep, which is just as important as falling asleep.

We’ve written about sleep before on this blog, including this post with nine ways to fall asleep faster tonight.

Want to share with your clients exactly how occupational therapy would help them with sleep? Have them listen to this recent Everyday Evidence podcast with OT sleep expert Donald Fogleberg.

This OT Practice article (AOTA member login required) examines the ways that occupational therapy can help clients who have sleep disorders.

Finally, if your clients are in a hospital or another inpatient facility this blog post discusses the way those environments can make it difficult for people to get enough sleep. Some hospitals are changing their routines to make it easier—think about ways that you could encourage your facility to modify its routines to help clients sleep better.  

Let us know if you have any resources or tips for sleep by commenting below. To comment, please log in to OT Connections (it's free to join!).

  • Sleep and Driving.  Some projections estimate that the driving risk associated with fatigue from sources such as poor sleep (and medications) may be passing alcohol as a public health concern for safe driving.  Including awareness and interventions to address problems with sleep is important for occupational therapy because poor sleep may contribute to impaired IADL's including the IADL of driving!  . See more information on the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/.../index.html