When beginning your career as a nurse or starting a job at a new hospital, you’ll likely have to work the night shift. Although the duties and responsibilities for a night shift nurse are no different than a day shift nurse, working night shifts does present challenges. Night shift nurses must make significant adjustments to his or her daily routine and personal life. Use the below tips and tricks to survive the transition to working nights.
Develop A Routine To Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is essential for everyone, but when working night shifts you may need a little help. Since the sun is up, serotonin doesn’t kick in naturally during the day like it does when it’s dark out. Take special measures to create an environment conducive for sleep by using blackout curtains that darken the room. Disconnect things that will disrupt sleep, such as cell phones and other electronics. If you wake up from a disturbance, it can be nearly impossible to fall back asleep.
Have Stress Relief Tactics
Working nights and being on a different schedule from friends and family members can be stressful. Therefore, it’s important to find time to unwind just like everyone else. Tenured night shift nurses recommend shopping or participating in your favorite hobbies on weekends and scheduling time to have breakfast or dinner with friends during the week. If you were 7pm to 7am, and then sleep until 3pm, you’ll have a few hours to socialize or go about your daily life before you head into work.
Avoid The Hangover By Staying On The Night Schedule
The secret to avoiding extreme tiredness is to try and stay on the night schedule as much as possible. It’s crucial that you have your family’s support to help you do so.
Build A Social Circle Of Other Night Shifters
Having friends with similar schedules will help you stay connected to other people. On your days off, get together with other friends that work night shifts for dinner, movies and popcorn, etc. Just do it at night instead of during the morning. If you’re involved in a church community, go to Saturday night mass so you don’t have to be up early on Sunday. There are many businesses that are open at night, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a circle of friends who work similar schedules even outside of the nursing industry.
Use Caffeinated Beverages Wisely
When first starting out on night shifts, caffeine can be your best friend. It takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in and can improve your level of alertness. However, it’s important not to overdo it, as drinking too much caffeine can keep you from being able to sleep during the day.
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