Helpful New Employee’s Guide For Taking Night Shifts
Switching to the midnight shift may be a tough transition for many nurses, and without adequate preparation, it can be harmful to one’s health and mind. Shift work disorder (SWD) is a regularly documented concern for overnight shift workers that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, making it critical to have a game plan in place before making the move to the night shift. The night shift may appear to night owls to be a dream. Others may require a complete lifestyle shift as well as an intentional effort to maintain a balanced sleep routine and food.
So we will be sharing with you helpful ways to survive the night shift schedule as a new nurse.
- Schedule Your Sleep
There’s no doubting that sleep is essential for giving the best possible care to your patients, yourself, and your family. It’s critical to figure out when you’ll receive your much-needed rest while switching to evenings. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so develop a routine that works for you.
While transitioning to the night shift, some nurses recommend taking a 15-minute ‘power sleep’ at least 5 hours before going to work. It is critical to discipline oneself to just sleep for a few hours after working the night shift in order to sleep that night. During this period, a gradual adjustment in your sleeping habits is essential, since a rapid change might disturb your body, appetite, and energy.
- Prepare Yourself for Better Sleep
It’s not enough to plan on getting adequate sleep after your shift. It’s also critical to improve your sleeping experience by investing in a good night’s sleep. To keep the sun out throughout the day, invest in a set of blackout curtains. Allow phone calls from those you can’t afford to miss (kids’ schools, physicians, etc.) and put the remainder on ‘do not disturb’ mode. If you live in a bustling city or apartment complex, a white-noise app or sound machine might be a useful tool. The finest form of sleep for NOC nurses is uninterrupted sleep!
- Nutrition and Hydration Are Essential
Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is critical to avoiding the 3 a.m. slump at work. Pack some healthful, easy-to-eat snacks (such as raisins, bananas, or granola bars) and remember to stay hydrated! Staying hydrated will help you feel more alert and energized during a lengthy shift. To combat weariness, some nurses recommend having a full meal before work and then a quick pick-me-up like a salad or a bowl of oatmeal while on shift. When it comes to caffeine, many nurses swear by their coffee or energy drinks, but only in moderation! If you overdo it, the caffeine high will always be followed by a crash.
- Create a Routine
The most critical aspect of mastering the NOC shift is routine. Get a great daily planner and plan out when you want to do errands, conduct housework, and exercise. Plan your sleep routine and even set aside some time after your shift to just rest. Working evenings is all about developing a routine…once you find it, stick to it!
- Consider the Benefits of the Night Shift
A cheerful mindset may make working the night shift much more enjoyable. Be grateful for the perks of your new job, such as increased time with your family. Nurses frequently say that they developed the greatest bonds with their coworkers while working nights together.