Because working when you should be sleeping just ain’t natural
For some travel nurses, the night shift is the be-all-end-all.
For others, the night shift is a total disruption of life as they know it.
Love it or hate it, working the “7p” is the opposite of what we as humans should be doing. I mean, we’re designed with a circadian rhythm. We’re meant to be up with the sun and down with the moon.
So what’s a travel nurse to do when we’re night shift lovers?
How do we maintain a positive lifestyle and good health?
Many healthcare facilities hire nurses to work the night shifts. Staying awake at night is a challenging task. But, you don’t need to consume tons of caffeine to remain functional at night.
The truth is, nighttime hours might disturb your sleeping schedule and put you in, well, less than optimal health.
As per National Sleep Foundation, working late at night increases your chance of having cardiac, metabolic, and gastrointestinal diseases alongside cancers. Aye caramba! However, there are many ways for nurses to recover from a hectic night shift.
This article will guide you about the proven tips on how to survive the night shift without any hassle.
Fix your sleep with power naps
Every human body requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to function properly.
If you’re sleeping less than 7 hours, it will cause a sleep debt. And nobody likes to be in debt. Overcoming sleep debt is possible by napping extra hours to fulfill the gap. Napping can often do a body good.
So take them cat-naps when you can.
Of course, I don’t mean when you’re on duty, though. Cat naps (aka power naps) reduce tiredness and fatigue among nurses working the night shift. Heck, they help even us RNs who work day shifts too.
Cluster your night shifts
This is also known as shift blocking.
Consecutive nursing night shifts are the best way to adapt your routine. Additionally, look at your schedule beforehand to plan your contract at the hospital.
Also, clustering offers you the opportunity to enjoy your free time in a more organized and efficient way.
Nurses who prefer rotating shifts (flipping & flopping from days to nights) tend to have poorer sleep quality, frequent fatigue, and lower job satisfaction. They also put their mental and cardiac health at stake by working day and night continuously. So do your best to stick to all nights or all days.
And one last tip…did you know you can ask for shift blocks as a part of your travel contract?
Watch out for your caffeine consumption
This may be blasphemy for many nurses.
I mean, seriously? Are you going to ask me to cut back my go juice? Move on to decaf?
We all know that caffeine intake in a certain amount helps you stay up and improves your overall concentration. Plus, it just gets us through the hump around 2 or 3 am. But the truth is, having nervous energy could interrupt you from taking care of your patients in an effective manner.
Additionally, nurses should avoid taking energy drinks rich in caffeine and sugar.
I’m personally not a fan of high sugar items, nor am I a fan of energy drinks. They may pep you up at the moment, but in the long term, it’s harmful to your health. A study also suggests that caffeinated drinks caused high blood pressure, weight gain, and increased amount of stress.
So do yourself a favor, and limit your caffeine intake.
It’s one of the best tips for night shift nursing.
Regulate your stress level
Night shift nursing can leave marks on one’s psychological well-being.
That’s why it’s necessary to keep your mental health in check. Practicing self-care activities, including journaling or meditation, and even yoga on our off days helps you to calm your nerves.
On top of that, positive affirmations and laughing exercises (yes, laughing exercises!) aid you in improving your mental health during chaotic night shifts.
The final word
Nurses working the night shift often have to deal with various challenges.
Nurses working the night shift can use power naps, cluster their night shifts, and reduce caffeine intake to help them survive and thrive. Additionally, regulating stress levels is essential to maintaining mental health. Travel nurses should regulate their stress levels by practicing self-care activities such as journaling, meditation, and yoga.
Nurses working the night shift often have to deal with a variety of challenges; hopefully, now your life will be smoother!
What do you do to survive the night shift? Let us know in the comments below!
To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.
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