At the hospitals, care facilities, and 24/7 pharmacies, the newly recruited staff employees are often asked to work the night shift. The freshly graduated doctors are assigned night shifts to work as on-call doctors.
Working the whole night, serving and tending to patients is not an easy job. You’ll find yourself often recovering from the grueling shift hours when you are away from work.
The trend toward working night shifts is not slowing as businesses, spurred by new growth, are striving to waste as little of the 24-hours as possible to meet soaring demand.
Many other professions, apart from nursing also work late hours, like call centers, drivers, freelance writers, and hotel front-desk clerks.
The following health tips are aimed at helping health care practitioners in specific when it comes to working the night shifts, but these can also be used by other professionals who work during the odd hours of the night.
- Prioritize yourself
A positive attitude can get you through almost anything, including the stressful night shift. By using a time-management app or method, you can create schedules for the various elements of your everyday life.
Finding a sleep regimen that works for you is the first step to staying healthy while working the night shift. Proceed onto preparing your own meals, and avoid the food snacks served in cafeteria and other late-serving joints that might influence your health negatively.
Allocate a specific hour for your eating, and every day, eat at that appointed hour. This timetable aids in the regulation of the body’s clock. To stay alert, eat high-protein foods. Exercise is very important and you must be consistent even when you’re weary. Surround yourself with positive people and schedule your time around them to invite joy into your life.
- Upgrade Your Credentials
In making yourself appear a more attractive hire for higher or more technical roles in nursing, consider obtaining a higher degree. So, if you are a nurse who has done her ADN degree only, why not look to expand your credentials and make yourself stand out with a higher BSN degree.
Getting yourself upskilled will open a wide array of job opportunities in front of you. For example, you can have a higher salary, more decision-making options, and finally get your name off the dreaded night-shift roster, reserved mostly for the underqualified.
In your search for the perfect nursing degree or How to Go from ADN to BSN Online, you’ll come across a lot of online options these days, making your process of upskilling even easier.
- Use Caffeine Effectively
To stay awake and productive into the wee hours of the night, most of us need stimulants, like coffee. Caffeine can help you focus, uplift your mood, and get you motivated to perform better.
Whether it’s coffee, black tea, or dark chocolate, you are free to go with your own drug of choice, but you should stop consuming before the jitters come on.
Avoid energy drinks that are chockfull of added sugars and caffeine. While they may provide you with a momentary boost, studies have linked them to detrimental health outcomes, such as elevated stress, higher blood pressure, an increased risk of obesity, and bad sleep quality. To avoid this, limit your caffeine intake as much as possible nearing bedtime.
The night workers are more susceptible to a glucose intolerance, weight gain, and the risk of developing diabetes when compared to the general population.
For the night workers, especially the nurses, it is very important to look after their body’s metabolic, digestive, and heart health. Over the course of a 24-hour period, aim for at least three satisfying meals.
It’s recommended to avoid or limit eating between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., and to eat at the start and end of the shift only. To avoid waking up hungry during the day, eat a breakfast before going to bed.
Avoid high-iron foods late at night since they might throw the liver’s circadian rhythm out of whack, resulting in glucose metabolism issues. Check your vitamin D levels on a regular basis, as working late means less sunlight exposure
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer. Also, get a checkup once every year to see if you’re at risk for diabetes.
- Avoid Alcohol
If you use alcohol to fall asleep faster, it will affect the quality of your sleep after the shift. Despite its use for inducing sleep, alcohol badly affects your REM sleep, which can then make you wake up all groggy.
As most night shift workers fall asleep as soon as they reach home, alcohol can lead to leaving a sedative impact on your entire body, including your muscles. It makes it easier for your airways to close while you’re sleeping. This can significantly raise your risk of sleep apnea, especially if you drink within a few hours of going to bed.
- Move Around
Taking small walks throughout your shift will not only help you stay awake but will also maintain your blood flowing properly throughout your body. Stretch your legs and become active by going for a walk every hour or so.
Working the night shift raises your risk of heart disease and other illnesses, so it’s critical to stick to a regular fitness routine. Some people may find it difficult to fall asleep if they exercise too close to bedtime, so consider doing it before your shift rather than after when you get off work.
- Limit Blue Light Exposure
The blue light emitted by electronic devices has a deleterious effect on melatonin and other sleep hormone levels. To achieve the most restorative sleep, avoid using your phone or staring at the television screen before going to bed.
To avoid distractions and blue light, charge your phone outside your bedroom rather than plugging it in the socket near your bed. It is also recommended to wear comfy eyeshades or dim the lights in your room. Even with your eyelids closed, the eyes can be sensitive to the light, preventing you from falling asleep or sleeping soundly.
Working through the night could be very challenging, both physically and mentally. It is very important to prioritize yourself especially when you are working late into the night. It is important to look for early signs and symptoms of any health damage, and also get your yearly blood tests to make sure everything is fine. It is mandatory to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, limiting stress, exercising, getting the required vitamin D, and sleeping 8-hours every day.