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Top tips for surviving a night shift

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Top tips for surviving a night shift

Roles in Healthcare can often involve night shifts. For some people this may be an easy move but for others the switch in hours can really affect their health and wellbeing.

So how can you prepare for and get through a night shift if you’ve never done one before? We asked experienced Healthcare professionals for their top tips on how to survive the night shift.

Before your shift:

  • Drink plenty of water – Being well hydrated before a shift will help you feel more alert
  • Try to rest and take naps – It can help to try to adjust your sleeping pattern the night before to match the hours you will be doing if possible.
  • Limit caffeine – Whilst a lot of people swear by caffeine to get them through the shift, drinking if beforehand could lead to you having an energy crash mid shift. If you are going to have one, have it at the start of your shift and drink plenty of water alongside it.

During your shift:

  • Don’t sit down for too long – A number of people said they found sitting down made them feel more tired. Try to get up and move around regularly, even if it is just walking around the corridors.  You could challenge other team members to do a one minute dance party every hour to keep you all going.
  • Fresh air – Take the time to get fresh air to make you feel more awake. Try to step outside on a break or open a window to get some air. Some people said they found it beneficial to split their break so they could go out and get air more regularly. Others said that they found getting air whenever they found themselves feeling tired was enough to keep them going.
  • Eat little and often – Try not to fall into the trap of quick, easy unhealthy food. Instead choose foods like fruit and protein bars. Choosing healthy snacks that provide slow release energy will help you through your shift.
  • Keep the lights on – Bright lights will promote alertness and help keep you awake so make sure to keep the light on where possible.
  • Drink lots of water – Most people turn to energy drinks and caffeine fixes but these can actually make things worse. Although they give a short burst of energy they also come with a crash. Staying hydrated is important for your overall wellbeing and will make you feel more energised. Try to take a water bottle with you so you can carry it around during your shift and measure how much you have drunk.

 After your shift:

  • Sleep as soon as you can – Try not to stop on the way home, the less time you spend in the daylight the easier it will be to sleep.
  • Ask family and friends to limit phone calls and noise – Set your phone to do not disturb and let the people you live with know when you will be sleeping so they can keep the noise down during these times.
  • Use blackout blinds and an eye mask – These will really help you to switch off and get to sleep.

Working a night shift can be a real challenge but it’s not impossible. We hope these tips help you prepare for yours. If you work a night-shift already then why not try some of these tips. Alternatively, let us know any tips we might have missed in the comments below!

If you’re looking for work, get in touch with your local Swanstaff branch today.