How To Survive The Daunting Night Shift

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You have been scheduled to the night shift! The anticipation of working in the evening gives you constant anxiety. Why so? For starters, the night shift usually begins from 10 or 11 pm and ends by 6 or 7 am. Positions that experience this varying work hours include customer service officers, traders, and nurses.

The duties and responsibilities may be no different from the person who works in the daytime, but the night shift poses unique challenges. The workplace atmosphere and its uncommon nature requires the employee to make significant adjustments in his or her professional and personal life.

A friend of mine is a nurse who is currently shifting from morning and night shift. With the majority of his patients asleep, he must find ways to manage his workload in between the continuous monitoring of the patients and their documentations. The sudden changes in his sleeping and eating patterns were initially tough. However, he was able to adjust in time.

Before Your Shift

Adjusting to the sleeping patterns is a primary concern when faced with the evening post. It is understandably challenging to fall asleep during the day, especially when you are stimulated by external cues (e.g., beaming sunlight and city noises). You must create a comfortable sleeping environment to help you doze off. Somewhere relatively dark, quiet, and cool.

The next step is to assign a sleeping schedule and stick to it. Reset your body clock by waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Developing a healthy routine will help you adjust at a quicker pace. Alternatively, you may take a power nap before your shift begins. A power nap lasts between 10-30 minutes. Going beyond 30 minutes will put you at risk of feeling groggy or weak. It takes a considerable amount of time to conquer this unpleasant feeling. It is best to stay disciplined.

During Your Shift

Another concern that you must address is the way you eat. It is better to munch on small portions throughout your shift than having a massive meal before it starts. You see, the change in your physiological patterns can make your digestive system more sensitive. A heavy meal becomes difficult to digest than lighter ones. Healthy snacks such as apples and nuts can boost your energy levels while you work.

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Let us move to your caffeine intake. You may think that coffee will help you stay alert throughout your exhausting shift, but that is just counterproductive! Consuming coffee or other caffeinated drinks during your shift makes affects your sleeping routine. You may not be able to fall asleep immediately when you get home. So, stay awake by engaging in an interesting conversation with your co-workers or clients. Actively absorb the conversation. Who knows? Your co-worker may share some tips to cope with the shift transitions.

After Your Shift

Working the night shift can have adverse effects to your physical and mental health. You are more likely at risk of experiencing insomnia, high blood pressure, menstrual irregularities, and weight gain compared to “day shift employees”. Experts stressed the importance of effectively monitoring one’s health. Taking care of your health refers to knowing when to stop. It is as simple as taking a cab home rather than driving by yourself.

On the other hand, taking care of your emotional well-being entails strengthening of your relationships outside work. The night shift isolates you from your friends and family members who work or study in the morning. You can no longer be a part of spontaneous hangouts, nor join for family dinners. It takes conscious effort to make appointments with the people whom you love. Make time for your friends, partner, or family members by meeting on the weekends or by requesting a leave.

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Do not let your important relationships fade away!

Sources: 1, 2, & 3

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