In home care nursing, nurses often work 12-hour shifts, and their schedules sometimes require rotating between shifts (from days to nights or vice versa). Adjusting to the night shift means changing most aspects of one’s life and can be stressful. For example, it can be difficult for people who work “regular” hours to get enough sleep, so it’s even trickier for night shift nurses to get the rest they need to perform best at work.
And it’s not only sleep schedules that get disrupted. It might also take some planning to meet up with friends or find time to share a meal with family since chances are a night shift nurse’s friends and family aren’t on the same schedule.
Learning how to prepare for night shift nursing can be one of the biggest obstacles can be a big obstacle to overcome, but by adjusting your environment, mindset and even your eating habits, you can successfully transition into working the night shift.
Adjusting your sleep schedule
- Establish a new routine– This schedule provided by Charmane Eastman, PhD, a professor and researcher at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago can help you map out your daily schedule when adjusting to night shift. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/15/sleep-schedule-for-people-who-work-nights_n_7036010.html
- Adjust your sleeping space— Making adjustments to your bedroom, such as using light-blocking curtains or a tool to block ambient noise, can help night shift nurses improve the quality of their rest. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/shift-work-disorder/shift-work-you/tips-sleeping-during-day
- Banish interruptions– Studies show that turning off electronics, including phones, several hours before bedtime can improve sleeping habits. https://www.self.com/story/turning-off-electronics-before-bed-finally-cured-my-insomnia
Adjusting your eating patterns
- How sleep affects diet– Read here about how much sleep you get can affect how much you eat and how healthy your eating habits are. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/diet-affects-sleep-patterns-nutrition_n_2632004
- Diet also affects sleep patterns– Researchers also found that the foods we eat change the quality and duration of our sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702189/
- Eat certain foods at certain times– Here are some tips for avoiding weight gain and eating healthy as a night shift nurse. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/diet-working-night-shifts-2169.html
Mental preparation exercises
- Mindful meditation advantages– Harvard medical professionals explain in this article why meditation can improve sleep times and quality. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726
- Meditation routine for sleeping– Here’s a guided nine-minute meditation routine that could help relax you for sleep. https://www.sonima.com/meditation/bedtime-meditation/
- Five exercises to help you sleep– These simple habits could help you get to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. https://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/tips/a27325/meditation-exercises-for-instant-sleep/
Published by Regis College – https://online.regiscollege.edu/online-master-science-nursing/night-shift-nursing-tips-resources/