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A Nurse’s Survival Guide to Tackling the Night Shift

Posted by ACCESS Nursing Services on Nov 4, 2021 12:00:00 PM

As the days begin to get darker earlier, working the night shift may become more challenging. Keeping your body awake during twilight hours can prove to be exhausting and extremely difficult to do.

As a night shift nurse, you are expected to deliver the same level of care in the middle of the night as you would during the day, so check out these 4 tips to help you get a much-needed energy boost:

  1. Adjust your sleep patterns: You should be getting at least six hours of sleep every night, so it’s critical that you adjust to a new sleep pattern and stick to it. Try to stay on the same sleep schedule even on your days off to help your body cope better with a sleep pattern that doesn’t match the natural circadian rhythms.
  2. Communicate with the people you live with: Whether it be a roommate, a partner, or family members; whoever you live with needs to be aware of your night shift schedule. Discuss how they can create a quiet sleeping environment for you. Try hanging your work schedule on your bedroom door so they can easily see it when you are trying to sleep. Also, find time to share a meal with them, whether it’s eating breakfast together when you get home from work or having dinner before you leave for your shift. 
  3. Maintain a healthy diet: Unlike day shift nurses, you may not have the luxury of eating out during your break or going to the hospital cafeteria. Avoid visiting vending machines when it’s time for your meal break. Instead, pack your own healthy meal that includes energizing foods. Avoid too much caffeine intake because it will eventually cause you to crash. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
  4. Stay on the move: Night shifts often move at a slower pace for nurses, which is why it’s important to stay active. Moderate exercise can help get your blood circulating and avoid becoming sleepy. Try taking walks up and down the stairs or doing deep knee bends or jumping jacks in the break room. Even just chatting with co-workers or listening to podcasts will keep both your mind and body active.
For more helpful nursing tips, visit: ACCESS Nursing Services.

Topics: Blog