How to Take Care of Yourself When Working the Night Shift

October 12 / Posted by Christi Hintz

The night shift is an important responsibility that will fall to you at some point in your career. While it can be a difficult schedule to adjust to, it can also be very rewarding if you know how to make it work for you. So don’t fret, let us help you with some advice for taking care of yourself when taking on the nightshift.


Keep Your Bedroom Dark During the Day

You’re fighting against your natural instincts to sleep at night and be awake during the day, so it’s important to make it as easy as possible for you to fall asleep when you need to sleep. Invest in a set of blackout curtains and close your bedroom door to minimize outside light. Resist the temptation to use your phone, computer, or other backlit electronic devices close to the time you plan to go to sleep.


Keep Your Workplace Bright at Night (If Possible)

The same way you want to create the illusion of night during the day, you should try to create the illusion of day while you are working. This is not always an option depending on whether the patients need darker room conditions in your workplace. But if you can keep the lights on at work, it can help you feel more energized and awake.


Keep Up on Your Sleep Hygiene

You likely tell your patients about how important sleep hygiene is to their health, but are you making it a priority in your own life? We get it, it’s very difficult to keep up on your sleep hygiene when you’re working the opposite schedule to most other people, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Doing things like keeping a consistent routine, getting at least 7 hours of sleep, and making sure that you don’t do things like reading and working in your room will all help you feel more well rested and perform at your best.


Eat Right

Don’t be tempted by heavy, greasy foods during work hours. Lighter fare that contains the nutrients your body needs will help you maintain your focus throughout the night. You might also be tempted to load up on caffeine before your shift in order to stay more alert, but this will actually do more harm than good in the long run. Eating right and getting a good night’s sleep are the only ways to give you sustainable energy throughout your nights!


Pay Attention to What Your Body Is Telling You- And Get Help If You Need It

Nurses are incredibly giving people who spend most of their time putting other’s needs first, and many can feel hesitant to prioritize their own needs. It’s important to remember that you need to take care of yourself too, and that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you find yourself struggling, if you’re constantly getting sick or experiencing other health problems, if you have a hard time staying awake during work or your commute, or if you find yourself emotionally unbalanced, you should seek out help.


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