Working through the night can take a toll on your mind and body and can also lead you to not being in sync with the rest of your friends and family. There are many careers in which night shifts are a must, such as bar work, taxi work and healthcare. Ensuring you look after yourself when doing night shifts and staying in as much of a routine as possible will help you to deal with night shifts. If you are struggling to remain sane while working through the night, here are some top tips to get back on track.
Stop with the Caffeine
Although it can be ever so easy to fall into the trap of using coffee as a pick-me-up during a night shift, this is actually the worst thing you can do. Not only will this totally mess with your sleeping pattern further, it will also get you reliant on the stuff. Although caffeine can give us a temporary buzz, adding this to working nights and not sleeping at your normal time could lead you to suffer with migraines and withdrawal symptoms when you do not get your fix. We usually top up our coffees with milk and sugar, all of which is fueling our bodies with extra stuff we do not need. Try replacing coffee or energy drinks with a better alternative, such as energy-rich foods.
When you are on night shifts, it is easy to lose all sense of a normal day to day pattern and this includes getting enough exercise. Nights can leave you feeling even more exhausted than day shifts and this is why it is even more essential that you still get in some exercise. Schedule your workouts beforehand and try to stick to them. If nights leave you feeling worse for wear, try to get in some exercise before you begin your night shift. Exercising every week can provide you with more energy and improve your physical and mental health, which is even more vital for those long shifts through the night.
Sleep as Much as You Can
Not having enough sleep can seriously mess with your mental and physical health, and then swapping your whole sleeping pattern round to do night shifts can just make sleeping even harder. It is even worse if you have children or a partner and are missing vital time with them through the day which is further hindering the amount of sleep you are getting. When you do go to sleep during the day, it is important that you make the room as night-like as possible to stop any disruptions that may cause broken sleep. This means switching off your mobile, using black-out curtains and making use of earplugs if other people in your house are going to be up and moving about.
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of losing a healthy diet while on night shifts. Often, these are the slowest and more boring shifts and can lead to more snacking or the temptation of getting a takeaway. Ensuring you have healthy foods in at home means when you wake up in the afternoon you won’t be tempted to eat out. The more you can meal prep before your set of nights, the easier you will find eating well. Investing in a slow cooker could be a great way to get some of your favorite meals cooking while you catch up on sleep after work during the day.
Admit if You are Struggling
Night shifts are not for everyone and although some people prefer working through the night, many people much prefer working day shifts. If nights are seriously messing with your mental or physical health, it may be worth speaking to your boss or changing careers. If you are in the nursing sector, night shifts are a must as unfortunately people can get sick at any time of day or night. If nights are constantly getting you down, it may be worth thinking about moving up with your career with a nurse practitioner course. Nurse practitioners can work in schools or clinics that are only open through the day, meaning you can finally get rid of those grueling nights. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, check out the online nurse practitioner programs Colorado has to offer.
Cutting down on caffeine and ensuring you stick to as much of a routine as possible can help you when you are working nights. That being said, night shifts are not for everyone and if you are struggling, talk to someone about your options and see what is best for your own health.
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