Top Night Shift Survival Tips

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Working through the night is part and parcel of pursuing a career in nursing. Most nurses have to work nights at one point in their career, and some choose to do nights, rather than day shifts. When it seems like the whole world is sleeping, it can be tough to keep your eyes open, let alone focus on saving lives and making sure patients are as comfortable as possible. The good news is that there are steps you can take to survive night shifts. Long, 12-hour shifts through the night can take their toll both physically and mentally, and studies show that nurses who do nights are more likely to make mistakes and to develop health problems. Research suggests that shift workers are more likely to suffer from a string of conditions, from lung cancer and diabetes to heart disease and insomnia. While on the surface, night shifts may not seem appealing, it’s not all bad news. Nursing at night can offer opportunities to develop different skills, to gain valuable experience, to access a wider range of jobs and to enjoy a traffic-free commute. If you work nights, and you find yourself struggling to stay awake, the infographic below has some excellent coping strategies. Tips include increasing caffeine intake, taking a nap before your shift, getting as much light exposure as possible, doing regular exercise outside of work and taking breaks whenever possible. Sleep routines are largely governed by circadian rhythms, which dictate the movement of the body’s internal clock. Altering light and dark exposure can help to modify the clock, so it’s wise to invest in blackout blinds if you plan to take daytime naps. Working nights is no mean feat, but it is possible to survive the night shift.
Infographic Produced By Bradley University

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