For this post, I will be sharing my tips for surviving night shifts. I have been working night shift for nine months (not counting summer externship). I wanted to share my tips for getting through them as it goes completely against our circadian rhythm.
THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT…
Oh night shift… I love and hate it at times. Adjusting to night shift was very hard for me at first. I had terrible bloating and could not eat for the first few weeks. I also struggled a lot once 0400 arrived. After a lot of trial and careful attention to how my body was responding, I can finally share my tips for survival.
1. The night before.
If I did not work the night before I will make sure to stay in bed until around 1 p.m. This helps me start my day “later” and not feel like my schedule is being so interrupted. Around this time I will get up, eat and get ready for the gym.
2. Eating schedule.
I have found that if I have to work a night shift, my gut responds much better if I eat from 1200 to 0000. My first “meal” of the day will usually be something light as a pre-workout meal. After the workout around 1300, I return home around 1415 and have my “dinner” at 1500. After this, I will have a nap and have a snack before I leave for work. During work, I will usually get a snack in around 2100 if I can. I also try to get a lunch break between 2330 and 0030 if possible. After this I won’t eat until I get home and have a small breakfast.
Quick note: The meal I eat over break is always very small.
Sometimes when you work night shift, it may feel like all you do is get home sleep and wake up to go to work again. Set an alarm so that you are able to wake up about three to five hours before your shift. This is plenty of time to go for walk, run a couple of errands, clean, etc.
Usually I am only able to sleep for five to six hours. This is the same after a night shift too. That is just how I normally am. After a night shift, I usually got to sleep around 0800-0830 depending on what time I get home. I’ll wke up at 1300 and do things around the house or run errands. When I was in school I would use this time to do practice problems or any light busywork assignments.
I always take a nap before my night shift. If I don’t, I always crash around 0300 or 0400. I make sure I am showered and in bed at 1645. Thirty minutes is all it takes and I can function well during the shift. This is the only nap I take, I do not close my eyes or put my head down during night shift. If I do, I am toast.
This is exactly how I have become able to survive working nights. Feel free to try these out before your night shift.
Thanks for reading,