Home care nursing requires both day shifts and night shifts. Adjusting to the night shift can be a challenge, but refer to this blog to learn more about ways to make that adjustment successful.
Staying healthy while working the night shift is about more than just getting used to being awake when the rest of the world is sleeping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, night shift employees are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems, such as diabetes, breast cancer, heart attack and obesity.
But tips for working night shift don’t all have to involve high doses of caffeine or other extreme methods. With the right preparation, routine and habits, night shift nurses can handle their schedule change without negatively affecting their health. Here are some ways you can cope with working as a night shift nurse.
Eat a healthy diet
- Snacks that provide energy without the crash– These snack ideas provide protein and nutrients that help avoid the post-snack sugar coma. https://greatist.com/eat/portable-energy-boosting-snacks
- Nutrient-rich foods– Here’s a list of foods that offer the most nutrients per serving to help keep energy levels up no matter what time of day (or night) it is. https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/20-healthy-foods-give-you-every-nutrient-you-need
- Consume light, smaller meals frequently– Studies show that eating small frequent meals can help regulate blood sugar, decrease hunger and prevent impulse snacking. https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/02/health/mini-meals-food-drayer/index.html
- Use caffeinated products wisely– Experts recommend avoiding caffeinated products, including chocolate, for a few hours before bedtime. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/caffeine-and-sleep
Maintain a healthy sleeping routine
- Avoid light– This article makes the case for keeping our bedrooms as dark as possible and avoiding blue light before bedtime. https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-we-need-to-sleep-in-total-darkness-1497075228
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule– Keeping a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, can lead to better overall sleep. Here are some tips for being consistent. https://www.bustle.com/articles/145170-7-tips-for-maintaining-a-regular-sleep-schedule-because-consistency-is-important
Establish work and life balance
- Clearly communicate your schedule to your family– Read some tips in this article for discussing your work schedule and scheduling family time. https://www.confidentvoices.com/2017/11/08/how-to-balance-night-shift-nursing-with-a-family/
- Communicate regularly– Read about the benefits of planning a weekly family meeting to help scheduling run as smooth as possible. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/201209/10-tips-holding-family-meeting
- Stay active during breaks– No time to go to the gym? Here are 12 exercises you can do at work on your breaks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/health/workout-at-work/?noredirect=on
Develop an exercise plan – Even committing 20 to 30 minutes a day three times per week to a workout will produce noticeable fitness improvements. https://www.sportsrec.com/326746-workout-plans-for-busy-people.html