14 Tips for nurses to cope with night shifts

Nursing is the most hectic yet one of the most overlooked professions in healthcare. With a plethora of responsibilities given to nurses, this profession has the most demand for night shifts. These nightshifts can be pretty hectic if not dealt with correctly. However, if the challenges are counterbalanced, these shifts can be rather advantageous, enabling the nurses to make the most out of their day.  

But the question is, how can nurses counterbalance the challenges that come along with the nightshifts? If you’re a nurse and trying to sort your night shifts out, we’ve got your back! We’ve listed some tips you can implement to keep yourself rested, healthy, and well-prepared to offer optimal care to your patients. So let’s have a look.

1) Take some rest

If you’re on duty and your hospital allows mid-duty breaks, use them wisely. Don’t waste your breaks roaming and chatting around, instead utilize that time, take some rest and try to unwind. This way, you’ll be as fresh as a daisy to continue your remaining hours. 

2) Keep yourself occupied

Those late hours make you feel down, lazy, and sleepy. But you’ve to take the edge off sleepiness to perform your duty and serve your patients well. For that, keep yourself occupied by catching up on paperwork, conversing with colleagues, or walking the halls. 

3) Use Free time wisely

Want to keep yourself occupied in your free time while moving ahead in your career? Use the time wisely and invest it in studying nursing even further, so new career opportunities open up for you. Nowadays, educational institutions offer online nursing degrees to help nurses earn a terminal degree in nursing without attending a physical university – an excellent opportunity for the wise, career-focused nurse. 

4) Mingle with your colleagues

Whether you’ve had a lot of rest last night or none at all, boredom causes sleepiness. Engage in conversations with your workmates. Start hanging out outside of your work hours, maybe get together so that you’ll have a lot to talk about. Hence, no more sleepyheads!

5) Work out daily

Working out is immensely important. Given your hectic routine, exercising regularly will keep you on your toes during crucial work. In addition, working out will keep you alert, happier and you’ll have fewer mood swings too. Yes, you read it right; exercising not only burns down those extra fats but also decreases sleep complaints. 

6) Keep yourself hydrated

Dehydration reduces physical performance. This pretty much sums up why’s it so important to drink lots of water either at work or outside. Here’s the cherry on top: drinking more water will make you use the toilet more, and thus, more physical activity would lower the chances of you falling asleep.

7) Kick start your nightshift with coffee 

A refreshing cup of coffee is all that you need to be productive all night. However, that should be the only cup you should be consuming for the night shift. Because once you have coffee, it has the power to disrupt your sleep for up to 6 hours, and you might not want to wake up even after your shift’s over. Nonetheless, you still have a lot of healthy options up your sleeve to drink to help you cope up with your shift.

8) Choose bright-colored outfits 

Neon, bright and intense colors can make your energy levels soar! These colors are capable of making your brain feel awake and active. So, start choosing bright-colored outfits and make yourself feel energetic, and that too effortlessly. Besides, by doing so, you’d also benefit your workmates.

9) Keep track of your health

Working at odd hours makes you prone to several health-related issues like weight gain, high blood pressure, and insomnia, to name a few. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that you keep track of your health and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

10) Create a sleep-inducing environment

After work, sleep should be the first thing on your to-do list. Why? Because consistent 6-8 hours’ sleep is what you need to start functioning again. To have that perfect sleep, you got to create such an environment because our brain uses light as a signal to decide if it’s sleep time or not. Therefore, make sure there is no light shining through your curtains. For that purpose, you can close your windows tight and install blackout curtains to block the light away.

11) Avoid unhealthy eating habits

Eat healthy foods and stop munching over unhealthy snacks during your work hours. Eating healthy can make you feel active and full of energy. 

12) Don’t be too hard on yourself

If you’ve just switched to nightshifts from dayshifts, it may take some time for you to adjust to the new routine. Just stay calm and don’t push yourself. Sleeping all day and not being productive for a few days is okay. Take your time to adapt to the new changes. 

13) Take a ride back home 

There can be days when you’re tired or sleepy, and you don’t feel like driving. Of course, asking for a ride back home won’t hurt. Maybe ask your coworker, or if nothing, book a ride back home. Just don’t drive home when you’re not in a position to.

Final thoughts

The tips mentioned above help nurses give optimum performance at their nightshifts and promote their wellbeing. Following these tips might help nurses to balance their professional and personal life brilliantly.