Working the night shift can create obstacles to developing a work-life balance. While there are distinct advantages to the shift, there are also challenges. There may be days when you feel like life is passing you by as you’re sleeping through the day and working through the night.
When you first start working night shift you may especially experience an extreme lack of sleep as it’s difficult to balance your work and home life. However, when you intentionally practice some of the tips outlined below, you can adjust to your schedule and benefit from the advantages, chief of which is often better pay.
How Do You Adjust Your Sleep on the Night Shift?
Sleeping during the day and working at night is not a natural circadian rhythm. For this reason, you may have difficulty getting enough REM sleep and get drowsy at work. If you have sleep apnea, this can also be exacerbated by working the night shift.
Paying attention to getting good rest is one of the best self-care techniques you can use. Start by keeping a steady sleep schedule. Sleep at the same time every day and get up at the same time. You will sleep more soundly if the room is kept cool. Consider using a weighted blanket to calm your neurological system and help you sleep deeply. Use room darkening blinds to keep out light from the outside and wear a sleep mask to reduce light from your home.
Consider a white noise machine to help you sleep during the day when others are up and about. Once you wake up, consider using a light designed for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. This will help shut off your melatonin production that is full swing while you are sleeping so you’re more awake and ready for sleep the next morning.
Set Up A Consistent Routine When You Work the Night Shift
In order to maximize the time you’re awake during the day, you’ll want to set up a schedule that works best for your family and your personality. Everyone has housework and errands to get done. You’ll want to make time for exercise and to spend time with your family.
Some people want to go to sleep as soon as they’re off of work, while others would rather get their errands done first. Whatever works best for you, set up a schedule and stick with it. Switching the time you do errands or exercise can severely impact your sleep schedule, which will then impact your work-life balance.
Don’t Forget Exercise When You Work the Night Shift
Even though you likely spend a lot of time on your feet as a nurse, this is not exercise but rather movement. Your body requires both movement and exercise to stay healthy. Most people find exercising right before going to sleep to be disruptive, so you may want to plan 30 minutes of exercise after you awake but before work. 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and strength training will help to keep you healthy and reduce the risk you’ll experience burnout.
Would You Like to Try the Night Shift?
There are many benefits to working the night shift, including being able to shop and do errands when everyone else is at work. Call Capital Healthcare Staffing today and we’ll help you find the nursing or allied health job you’ve been looking for.