Tips for Recovering From Night Shifts
Working hours for nurses are far less than ideal in many cases. Some are forced to work grueling night shifts plagued by weariness and additional stress. While some suffer from night shifts, others still manage to find the rewarding results of helping people and saving lives. In order to reap those rewards, however, nurses need to know how to deal with the added stress.
There are quite a few ways to deal with night shifts, but one of the most important things every nurse needs to know is how to recover from them so that you can be at your optimum when your next shift rolls around. Learn some of the best tips for recovering from night shifts and discover what you can do to stay healthy and perform well.
Mind the Caffeine
When most people think of night shifts, one of the most commonly associated topics is coffee. Whether it’s a fresh brew or an energy drink, just about every nurse working the night shift has some kind of caffeine in their system. While some would caution you against caffeine altogether, that’s not exactly the most practical tip.
Caffeine can work wonders, but you have to be smart about how you consume it. A cup or two of coffee at the beginning of your shift will be more than enough to get you through it most cases. You just have to make sure you don’t overdo it when you don’t feel the effects fast enough. It usually takes about half an hour for the effects to kick in, and those effects can compound and last for hours. Put simply, don’t drink too much, and don’t drink any near the end of your shift or you’ll have trouble getting to sleep.
Unlike caffeine, you should drink water regularly throughout your entire night shift. This makes recovery exponentially easier the next day. Keep in mind that this is only true for water and not all fluids. Carbonated drinks have virtually no health benefits, and even tea can have negative effects depending on how much you drink.
The best way to make sure you get enough water is to simply bring your own bottle. Keep it by your station, because you won’t have time to run back to your locker if you need to take a drink. Not only does this help prevent headaches and weariness after a night shift, but it keeps you refreshed throughout the shift itself, enabling you to focus and get the job done.
Get Enough Sleep
Overall, the most important factor in your recovery is sleep. That much may be obvious, but there are a few tips you should try to ensure you’re getting the most from your sleep. First, establish a sleep schedule you can rely on. The hardest part of developing a sleep schedule is prioritization. Put your sleep first and build your schedule around that, rather than the reverse.
In addition to creating a reliable sleep schedule, you need to craft a space at home that’s easy to sleep in. The human body is naturally wired to sleep at night, so you’ll have to trick it a bit if you want to rest well during the day. Shut your windows and draw the curtains to make the room dark and quiet. Keep the room at an optimal temperature as well. Being too warm or too cold can make sleeping more difficult than it needs to be.
Become the Star of the Night Shift
With these tips for recovering from night shifts, you’ll be better equipped to do the job right during those long stretches through the early morning hours. Whether you don’t mind the night shift or prefer to work during the day, you can always count on TheraEx Staffing to help find the right place for you to practice your craft. Matching nurses with facilities that let their skills shine and grow is our specialty. Contact us today to learn more.