Many new nurses start their careers working the infamous night shift. As a new nurse, making the transition to a night schedule was difficult. For instance, after I completed my 3-day stretch, I found it challenging to readjust to my normal schedule. Often times, I slept at least 2 of my scheduled off-days. Therefore, I was left with limited time to fulfill my responsibilities. So, instead of complaining about my situation, I asked seasoned nurses on methods to successfully navigate my path. With a positive attitude and an open heart, I applied their recommendations. Within a few days of applying their advice, I felt more revitalized and productive. Listed below are the recommendations that I was afforded. Hopefully, these tips will assist nurses struggling with their transition to a night schedule.
- Sleep is imperative!
- Create a strict sleeping schedule that allows 7-8 hours of sleep.Without sleep you can’t function well!
- While working, I must be in bed by 9 a.m. Before I go to bed, I must pack my work essentials and lunch. So when I stir from my bed, I am not stressed and ready for work.
- Advise family and friends when it is okay to visit or call.
- Devise a way to block out the light!
- I use blackout curtains. They are energy efficient. Most importantly, they block the light.
- Maintain your sleep wake schedule
- While away from work, try to maintain your sleeping/-waking schedule.
- Your body won’t have to adjust drastically when you return to work.
- Take care of your body!
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy food choices
- Working the night shift is not an excuse NOT to exercise
- DO NOT eat junk food during your shift. Your body needs proper nourishment while working this grueling schedule.
- Limit the caffeine!
- Limit your caffeine consumption before and after your shift.
- Too much caffeine before or after your shift can interfere with your sleeping schedule.
Hopefully, these recommendations will help you with your transition to a night schedule. I encourage you to share your thoughts and stories. I can’t wait to hear from you!