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How do you stay positive during night shifts?

If you work the night shift, I’m sure you have asked yourself the one-million-dollar question: How do you stay positive during night shifts?

Humans are generally daytime creatures, although there are always exceptions and people who perform better at night. Therefore, the ideal would be to always work during the day and rest at night. But there are jobs (health services, emergencies, surveillance…) in which it is essential to work even when others are sleeping, and it is known that not sleeping well can cause multiple issues, including depression.

Those who work or have worked at night will know well that these shifts impact the body. This is due to the alteration of circadian rhythms, a biological clock regulating the organism’s functions and establishing a phase of sleep and another of wakefulness.

Typically, wakefulness coincides with daylight hours and sleep with darkness, but in night workers, this changes. This schedule affects not only the body since it also makes our social relationships difficult. Various studies show the effects of working at night, such as insomnia, poor quality of sleep, digestive problems, and changes in character…

What can we do to avoid these adverse effects?

As the most significant problems of night workers are related to sleep disturbances and their consequences, most recommendations are aimed at having a good rest.

First of all, it is essential to set times for going to bed and getting up. If a person who works the day shift always gets up at the same time, why don’t we do the same thing if we work at night? The body needs to “know” its schedules. If you consistently work night shifts, try to keep these hours on weekends or days off.

Sleep the necessary time. Each person has different needs, but all experts agree that sleeping between 6 and 8 hours a day is essential. Do not reduce your sleep hours if you work at night.

Establish a routine before going to bed. Preparing the body and mind for sleep is positive by following the same steps every day. In addition, it is advisable to carry out some relaxing activity that allows us to disconnect from work. If those who work during the day take time at night to relax before bed, why not you? You can read for a while, listen to the radio, practice meditation…

Prepare the bedroom for rest. Make sure you reproduce the darkness and silence conditions that occur at night. Lower the blinds, close the curtains, and disconnect the phone if needed. If this is not enough, you can always use earplugs to avoid noise and a mask to isolate yourself from light.

Take advantage of the sunny hours to go outside. We all know the benefits of the sun (always in moderation and with the appropriate protection measures). You can enjoy a walk after eating or do some outdoor sports.

It is not good to go to bed hungry because it can interrupt sleep, but you should not overeat before going to sleep either. The ideal is to drink something light and better if it contains tryptophan, a substance that helps you fall asleep. You can find it in bananas, dairy products, and cereals.

Make your family and friends aware of your hours of rest, especially those who live with you. During the hours you sleep, they should not try to contact you, just as you do not do it at night.

Organize your time to carry out activities and see people with a “normal” schedule. Working at night does not mean not having leisure; you must adapt it to your schedule.

By following these simple tips, we can ensure that a night job affects us as little as possible.

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