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Nursing Professor’s Research on Rest, Sleep Included in National Textbook

January 2, 2019

“Everyone gets 24 hours each day. How will you spend those hours to get the most out of your life?”

Sonya Wade, clinical assistant professor in the University of Houston College of Nursing, studies rest and restorative sleep. Her research, first published in the prestigious Journal of Advanced Nursing, soon will be included in a chapter of the 9th edition of the nursing textbook, Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care.

Portrait of a woman wearing orange and black graduation regalia

“Students will learn that rest and sleep are not the same thing, even though those two terms are used interchangeably,” Wade said, adding that restorative sleep is a basic physiological necessity. “We need to educate new nurses on the value of this kind of self-care. It’s education that ultimately benefits the patients they’ll care for.”

Fundamentals of Nursing is widely used nationally and internationally by nursing students, faculty, practitioners, and as a resource in clinics and hospitals.

Her publication, “Rest and the Associated Benefits in Restorative Sleep: a Concept Analysis,” examined how medical professions and other disciplines define rest, and emphasized the importance of rest in wellbeing. Wade found health professionals need a more consistent definition.

“The two terms are not synonymous. A person can rest without sleeping and sleep without getting rest,” she said.

She said the information is especially pertinent to school nurses in elementary, middle and high school who need to approach the topic of rest and sleep differently. Young people are forming their attitudes and behaviors about work, play and rest. High energy drinks appear to be a more acceptable choice to prolong waking hours, she said.

“We tend to think of sleep as being expendable, but without rest and restorative sleep you risk developing diabetes mellitus, eczema, hypertension, gastro-esophageal reflux disease and stress, she said. “It is a public health issue that goes beyond our profession.”

In January, Wade will begin a study to assess the sleep quality among nursing faculty. Nurse educators in Texas nursing programs, colleges and universities will be surveyed on their sleep habits. There is a call for all nurses to embrace a culture of health that begins with self-care. She hopes the study results will be far reaching.

“Getting quality sleep impacts you physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally,” she said. “If you could fix a weak link to help yourself be more healthy, why wouldn’t you?”

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