Working night shift isn’t for the faint of heart. Aside from completely altering your sleep wake cycle and managing an unnatural circadian rhythm, night shift presents a unique opportunity to “hack your night shift”. There are some ways we can better manage our days (or nights in this instance) without the negative “side effects” of working the night shift. Keep in mind that night shift isn’t for everyone, and that is ok! Learn your body and trust your gut.
Here are some of our favorite tips to making the most of working the night shift.
1. Manage your sleep pattern.
a. Try your best to avoid staying up all day after a night shift in order to get yourself back on a typical schedule when you have days off.
b. Dedicate time to sleep. The average adults needs 7-9 hours of sleep, so don’t skimp on sleep!
c. Blackout curtains, ear plugs and a sleeping mask may become your new best friend.
2. Monitor your intake (just as you would your patients).
a. Staying hydrated is crucial to avoiding the “hangover” post-night shift feeling.
b. Eating a balanced diet consisting of small, frequent meals rather than larger, heavy meals.
3. Stay active on your days off.
a. A nice walk or workout can help boost energy and serotonin levels in the brain to help kick the night shift hangover to the curb!
4. Maintain an off and on shift routine.
a. Our bodies love routine. Having designated time for sleeping, eating, activity, and social events is important!
b. Create a schedule for nights on, nights off, AND your flip days.
c. You don’t deserve to miss out on fun activities during the day, but managing your days off is key to a successful night shift lifestyle! It’s ok to say no to social events when you need rest.
5. Listen to your body!
a. When you are trying to switch back to a normal day/night sleep cycle after working several nights in a row, and you notice you are feeling fatigued, tired, or can’t seem to concentrate, remind yourself it is okay to go to bed!
b. You deserve rest.
What are your favorite tips for managing your night shifts? Comment below!