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Clinical Systems Leadership

Tips for surviving a night shift

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When most people are getting ready for bed, you’re on your way to work. That’s because you’re not most people, you’re a nurse who works the nightshift. Ask just about anyone who’s experienced this all-nighter and they’ll tell you that it’s no easy feat. However, with solid preparation and proper care, you can not only survive, but maybe even grow to really love working this nocturnal shift. Cover the essentials  Surviving the night shift heavily relies on what you do when you’re not at work. Rachel Clements, nurse and contributor for Nurse Together, explained that she was able to not only feel healthy, but also lose some weight while working the night shift. She accredits this success to consistently eating healthy and working out. If you’re new to the night shift, readjust your gym times and meal plans. You have to start somewhere and with time, you’ll get used to these different, but still effective, efforts. It’s even important to strategically choose your snacks. According to Nurse Without Borders, getting through this red-eye shift is all about picking foods that will boost your stamina. Skip the chocolate, even when you get a late-night craving, because the sugar can make you crash just as fast as it perks you up. The same goes for coffee. Time your cups just right so that you don’t wind up feeling wired when it’s finally time to get some shut-eye or drowsy before your shift ends. Sleep in and of itself might pose enough of a challenge for you, so there’s no need to throw coffee jitters into the equation.


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Day dreams  Once you’ve clocked out from your nightshift, get your mind ready for bedtime by wearing your sunglasses on the drive home – assuming that it’s light outside. As stated by Nurse Together, sporting your shades preps your brain for sleep. This step could help you fall asleep faster after you’ve arrived home. Conversely, come time to wake up you should go outside for a few minutes to get some natural light, suggested Scrubs Magazine. If you have a difficult time drifting off to sleep, shut any blinds and curtains, meditate and free your mind of worries. The more you train your body to sleep during the day, the easier it should get for you. Surviving the nightshift is all about developing good behaviors and turning them into habits.

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