It’s no secret that night shift nurses have many challenges to overcome. They work while the world sleeps, sleep while the sun shines, and face the dreaded full moon every month. However, with a few adjustments, many nurses find working the night shift to be a rewarding and enriching part of their career. Here are a few tips on how to survive and thrive as a night shift nurse:
Working while the moon is out and sleeping while the sun is up is no easy task. It can throw your circadian rhythm out of balance. That’s why it’s so important that night shift nurses prioritize sleep. Ensure that you get eight full hours of sleep without interruption each day.
You need to trick your body into thinking it is nighttime. Turn off anything that emits much light, including the television, and outfit your bedroom with blackout curtains. Keep the noise levels to a minimum. This will help you stay more alert in the waking hours.
Enjoy Some Coffee
The amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee per day can keep you awake and alert without disrupting your sleeping patterns. Any more caffeine than that has the potential to make sleeping more difficult, thus perpetuating the need for caffeine. If you are currently having more than the equivalent of two cups of coffee per day, consider slowly reducing your caffeine intake.
When hunger strikes during the night shift, the results can be frustrating. Typically, night shift nurses will have a harder time finding food during their shift. That’s why it’s important that these nurses eat a full, well-balanced meal before the start of the shift. Also, remember to bring energizing snacks with you, such as almonds or fruit.
Relax When You Get Home
Most people who work the day shift do not come home and immediately go to bed. There’s no reason night shift nurses should do that either. Your brain may need some time to unwind before it is ready to fall soundly asleep. Give yourself permission to indulge in some television or get lost in a good book. Only head to bed when your body feels ready.
Make Friends with Your Co-workers
A strong team can make any nursing shift easier and more enjoyable. Never is a strong bond more important than on the night shift. When you know you can count on your co-workers, the shift simply goes more smoothly – even on a full moon. New to the shift? Make sure to introduce yourself to your colleagues and be friendly with them.
With the right mindset and tools, many nurses find the night shift to be their favorite. For more information, tips, and nursing humor, make sure to follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.