Staying Healthy While Working the Night Shift

Working night shifts may be exhausting because it disrupts the body’s normal circadian cycle. Working on a night shift means that you’re battling one of your body’s established mechanisms, the circadian rhythm, which keeps us alert during daytime hours. In order to give the greatest care while working as a nurse, you must first prioritize your own well-being.

In the nursing industry, you’ll discover that there are typically more jobs listed for the night shift because it can be a bit difficult to manage.

1.     Make A Commitment to Getting Lots of Restful Sleep

Begin by examining your present sleeping patterns. Are you receiving the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Sleep Foundation?

If you haven’t yet reached that milestone, make it a priority to do so in order to be a successful night shift nurse.

2.     Combine Your Night Shifts as Much as Possible

Those who have successfully transitioned to a night shift nursing job will inform you that arranging the shifts to consecutive evenings plays a major part in easing the transition. Hopefully, people in charge of scheduling are aware of this and will assist in making it happen.

This plan gives you a lot more freedom on your days off, and it may also help you find time to work throughout the day.

On days or evenings when you aren’t working, clustering the shifts also enables you to go out and have fun.

3.     Adhere to A Schedule

Make notes in your calendar for hours that you will devote to sleep after your night shift nursing routine is established. Try to stick to a regular sleep and wake-up schedule, taking into account overtime and special activities that may occur throughout the day.

It may seem odd to schedule your sleeping periods, but it may help you get enough healthy sleep while also keeping up with your appointments and social commitments.

4.     Keep an Eye On What You’re Doing On Your Days Off

Where several night shift nurses attempt to maintain their schedules constantly on days off to avoid having to retrain their bodies, we know that many will try to work during the day. It’s possible that you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you.

5.     Go “Off The Grid” Before Sleep

As a night shift nurse, if you’re accustomed to falling asleep to the TV or with the phone ringing by your bedside, you’ll want to change your routines.

In fact, sleep specialists advise shutting off all electronic devices for at least one hour before bedtime. Getting some shut-eye during the day requires creating a dark, calm environment. To put it another way, you want to fool your body into believing it’s evening, so it starts producing the chemicals required for sleep.

6.     Eat Nutrient-Dense Meals and Drink Plenty of Water

Working on the night shift implies you won’t be able to rely on the natural foods store around the block being open at your lunchtime; if you want to eat well, you’ll have to carry more of the snacks and meals to work. To remain healthy and energetic, eat nutrient-dense meals.

Make a nutritious smoothie to take to the hospital with you. Snack on fresh fruit, veggies, and hummus, or nuts by the handful. Simple, balanced meals with lean protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy grains should be on your menu. Eating “good stuff” will prevent you from overindulging in sweets and fatty meals.

APN Healthcare Can Help You

If you are a travel nurse looking for a new assignment, APN Healthcare can help place you in a facility. We help nurses and other healthcare professionals find temporary or permanent placements in a wide range of healthcare organizations. Contact us today at or 609-924-3400. Visit our website and look through our open positions.

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