Night shifts; also referred to as the graveyard shift. They are something that most medical professionals have to adapt to and as traveling medical professionals, it’s something you often face as the “new kid on the floor”.
Here are some tips for making it through those long night shifts:
1. Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule
Working the night shift means sleeping at different times of the day. These sleep tips will help you adjust your sleep schedule.
Tip #1: The night before your night shift stay up very late. Try to make it until at least 3 a.m. Then sleep most of the day before you go into your night shift. By staying up late you’ll be tired enough to go to sleep during the day, saving up some energy for your upcoming night shift.
Tip #2: Give your eyes a rest. Avoiding staring at your phone or computer and invest in some blackout curtain.
Tip #3: A sleep mask and white noise machine can help you sleep deeper during the day when the sun is bright and neighbors are often noisy.
The brain is made of 70% water. That means when you start to get dehydrated, your cognitive performance starts to decrease. Staying hydrated during your night shift ensures the best care for your patients.
3. Use Caffeine Appropriately
Caffeine is a great tool to boost your alertness on the job, but overdoing it can affect your sleep schedule when it’s time to get some rest. Try to keep your caffeine intake to less than 3 cups per shift and avoid the sugary snacks, which can cause a nasty crash.
Cinnamon or mint gum (if allowed in your environment) can be a great way to perk you up.
4. Lean On Your Friends
If you can make some friends for those late night shift can make the time go by a little faster. Plus, if they are on the same sleep schedule as you, it gives you people to hang out with when everyone else is asleep.
5. Stress Relief for Night Owls
Working any shift in the medical profession can be stressful at times. It’s important to allow yourself some time to de-stress. Read, exercise, have a Netflix marathon, and schedule some fun activities for your days/nights off.
Voyage Healthcare has travel nursing opportunities available across the country! Check out our current job openings here. You can also contact us at (800) 798-6035 or email us if you have any questions about travelling as a medical professional.