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How to Survive the Night Shift as a Nurse

If you are a nurse I am sure that at some point you have asked yourself How to survive Night Shift. Well in this article we will answer that and many other questions.

We know that night shifts can be difficult at times and this is why many health professionals wonder how they can manage it better. At first, it can take some time to get used to it. However, some tips can make working nights a little more bearable. In addition, it may have more advantages than you think.

How to cope with working the night shift?


Many nurses who work the night shift often ask themselves how to manage their night shift better. Knowing how to deal with the night shift allows you to enjoy what you do.

Food and hydration

Meals should preferably be light. It is not easy to lean towards healthy options on the night shift. It is best to plan what you are going to eat and have it ready. In this way, it can be a light meal. Also, it is essential to bring healthy snacks in case of hunger returns during the day. Some options are nuts or fruit like bananas or apples.

Likewise, staying hydrated during the night shift is just as important as food. The best option is always water. However, you can also drink juices or teas. It is better to avoid coffee, especially after six in the morning, since it will cause insomnia despite the tiredness.

Stay active and get sunlight

Exercising can be an impossible mission for night shift nurses. In these cases, even a twenty-minute walk is enough. The main thing is not the intensity of said exercise, but staying active as it is. In addition, it is essential to take advantage of the afternoon sunlight for this, even if it is only for a while. The frequent lack of it can cause disorders such as anxiety, depression, or memory loss. In some cases, it is advisable to take vitamin D supplements.

Sleep is a priority

Working at night should not mean losing the necessary hours of sleep, even after hours. Before going to work it is convenient to take a nap. Long-term lack of sleep affects neural functions, so sleep should be a priority.

Advantages and disadvantages of working at night

Night shift nurses have both advantages and disadvantages. Work development during these hours can sometimes be tedious due to changes, for example, in the biological clock. However, often the benefits are worth it. This is a factor that each professional must assess for themselves.

The advantages


Free time: Night shift nurses often have more free time during the day. Even if you sleep 8 hours when you arrive, there will always be plenty of time to make other plans. You also save time going to work, as there is less traffic.

Reconciliation with other activities: if you want to continue studying to get a better job, it is the best time. Also, since most people prefer the day shift, the opportunity to work nights will always be there.

The work environment: at night there is usually better communication between workers, who tend to be closer. Likewise, productivity will be higher. This is due to both better collaboration with colleagues and fewer interruptions.

Salary: The salary for night jobs is accompanied by the night shift bonus. In fewer hours, much more money can be earned.

The drawbacks


Family time: when you have a family, night hours can be problematic. Although you can always find intermediate solutions, it can be challenging and there can be family complications.

Less activity: some people like their work to be dynamic. The night shift, in that regard, can be more ‘boring’. However, this can be an inconvenience or an advantage, it depends on the priorities of each professional.

Health: If you don’t put some effort into taking care of yourself, the night shift can deteriorate your health. For this to not be the case, it is important to follow the advice given at the beginning on how to cope with the night shift in the best way. Some of the essential elements are getting enough sleep, eating healthily by planning, and making sure to at least enjoy the afternoon sunlight. Personal care should never be abandoned.

In short, night shift work is quite common in the healthcare sector. All professionals have had to do it at some point. Following the tips to manage it will make it much easier.
If you feel the night shift is deteriorating your physical or mental health, make sure to seek professional help.


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