More Tips For Surviving The Night Shift
You’re in your new city, and you’re working nights for the first time. Never fear, travel nurse! You’re about to turn your late shift survival into a lifestyle revival.
After all, there are some advantages to working through the night. For example, the night shift can be less chaotic, so you might just have more time to get to know your hospital, and bond with your new co-workers. With this in mind—combined with the following four tips—you might just find that the night shift is your jam.
- Fuel Up, Stay Hydrated, & Be Active
Eat healthy, filling snacks like nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables before and during your shift. Avoid or minimize sugar and carbs. Keep yourself going into the night with extra hydration and nutrition. Drink alkaline or coconut water. Limit your caffeine intake to one or two cups of coffee per shift, and drink your last cup at least six hours before you plan to go to sleep. During breaks, take a walk, stretch, do a set of push-ups, or jump rope to keep your blood flowing and your energy going ‘til the end of your shift.
- Tackle Tedious Tasks First
Since it’s likely you’ll have less interaction with patients and their families during the night, you can organize your time differently than you might during the day. Of course, talk with your Nurse Manager and follow their instructions, but research says that it makes sense to manage all of the finer patient details early in your shift. This way you can interact with them as necessary before they head off to sleep. Plus, you’re more likely to be more fully alert at the beginning of your shift than you are toward the end.
- Create An After-Work Routine
As soon as you leave work, start preparing to rest. If the sun is coming up, put on your sunglasses. Don’t run errands on your way home. When you get home, don’t force yourself to go to bed right away. Instead, develop a routine that includes some time to shower, read, and relax as your body winds down after work. Try to avoid bright screens, which block your body from releasing melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
- Make Your Downtime More Restful Than Ever
Don’t forget to pack some extra cozy bed linens that you’ll look forward to diving into each morning when you return from work. Wear an eye mask to keep your room dark. Try a white noise machine or earplugs to keep the noises of the day at bay. If possible, establish the same bedtime and wake schedule for every day. Don’t forget to tap into resources that will make your daily tasks easier, like laundry services or using a crockpot so your meals are ready when you need them.
There’s usually an adjustment period for working the night shift, but once you get the hang of it, you might just find you like it better than the day shift. And if it isn’t your thing, talk to your recruiter about working the day shift on your next assignment. Whether you are working the night or day shift – or any shift — you can count on Advantage RN to be there by your side!
Related: Tips for Surviving the Night Shift