Few positions in healthcare are as misunderstood as night shift nurses, whose important contributions to patients’ well-being and the performance of nursing teams are routinely undervalued. Adevia Health understands the contribution and impact these nurses have on the community. We have put together a list of 9 tips to help our nurses cope the night shift.
1. Get a good amount of sleep
It’s critical for nurses to prioritize sleep at home. Nurses on the night shift must train their bodies how to go asleep (and stay asleep) for lengthy periods of time without being disturbed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), night shift nurses should stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine (including on weekends); use eye masks and ear plugs to block out noise and light; and avoid drinking alcohol or eating caffeinated beverages/foods close to bedtime.
2. Use Caffeinated Products Wisely
To stay awake during a night shift, the NSF recommends drinking a caffeinated beverage such as coffee, tea, or cola. Caffeine is an excellent strategy for overcoming weariness, taking roughly 20 to 35 minutes to boost an individual’s degree of alertness. However, it is crucial not to overindulge in caffeinated goods, since excessive coffee use can cause its own set of problems.
3. Make Healthier Meal and Snack Choices
The meals and snacks that a nurse consumes before and throughout the night shift can have a big impact on her energy, stamina, and performance. It’s critical to pick foods that provide you energy but don’t make you sleepy or induce a ‘crash-and-burn’ impact later in the shift. While working the night shift, a nurse should take a grazing approach to eating, which means eating smaller, more frequent light meals with fresh salads, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Choose meals that are well-balanced and include high-protein, complex carbohydrate, and low-fat ingredients.
4. Keep track of your health
Working the night shift may be harmful to a nurse’s health, both physically and psychologically, if they do not properly check their health. Shift workers, according to the National Sleep Foundation, have a greater risk of insomnia, daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, diabetes, menstruation irregularities, colds, and weight gain than day shift workers.
5. Bond with Your Co-Workers
Bonding with coworkers not only makes the night shift easier to endure, but it may also aid in boosting the probability that a shift will run well through communication between coworkers.
6. Find Useful Activities to Keep You Busy
Nurses must find productive methods to remain active in order to withstand the night shift’s normally slower pace. During the night shift, Becker explains, just the nurses and patients are generally present, allowing nurses to provide exceptional patient care on a more personal level.
7. Stay Alert by Exercising or Getting Active
Nurses on the night shift are most tired and drowsy about 4 a.m., so they should avoid doing the most laborious or repetitive jobs during that time.When exhaustion starts to take control during the night shift, the National Sleep Foundation recommends doing some exercise. Taking a trip to the cafeteria, ascending a flight of stairs, dancing to a song on the radio in the break room, or shooting hoops in the hospital parking lot are all good ways to keep your energy levels up during breaks.
8. Learn How to Adjust Your Clock to the Circadian Cycle
The circadian clock is the human body’s inherent, intrinsic tendency to follow a 24-hour cycle; it also regulates body temperature, hormones, heart rate, and other activities. Gaining a greater knowledge of the circadian clock and knowing techniques to mitigate some of the physical impacts of working at night, such as exhaustion and sleepiness, can help a nurse cope with the night shift.
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