Nurses are no strangers to working shifts. To help you stay healthy, here are some great tips that could help you combat the effects working night shifts has on you.
1. Drinking coffee
At the start of your shift, drinking coffee will help keep you alert. However, don’t reach for the coffee later in your shift, or you may have trouble falling asleep when you get home.
2. Blackout blinds and heavy curtains
When you’re on the night shift and sleeping during the day, use blackout blinds or heavy curtains to block out the sunlight. Even if your eyes are closed, any bit of sunlight will tell your brain that it’s daytime and will disturb your sleep rhythm.
3. Eat meals that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat
Weight gain can be an unfortunate effect of working night shifts. When you finish your shift, eat meals that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat – they will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Some of your best options are toast, orange juice, and cereal.
4. Don’t drive home alone
A risk that comes with working on night shifts is physical safety. When you’re tired, make sure you’re not driving home alone – try sharing a lift with a colleague. Otherwise, choose public transport if possible and never leave without a co-worker or friend.
5. Talk to your loved ones
Night shifts can make you feel isolated, especially if you miss family celebrations. Your work schedule can also make family members feel neglected. To help address these issues, it’s always a good idea to talk to your loved ones and explain how your working schedule is different.
6. Keep yourself hydrated
To avoid fatigue and headaches after your shift, keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You should avoid drinking tea because of its diuretic effect on the body, and limit your consumption of carbonated drinks. Bring your own bottle to the station so you can drink lots of water when you are thirsty.
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