When you become a travel nurse, chances are that you’ll be working long night shifts and even graveyard shifts. Our bodies are not meant to stay up working for long hours without getting rest, so it’s important that you take the right steps to make sure you’re able to stay healthy while still succeeding at work. Here are some tips to successfully work night shifts:
Eat enough food
Not only should you eat enough food, you need to eat healthy food. Watching what you put in your body is extremely important. It plays a huge role in how you function. Healthy foods give you the energy you need to get through your shift and the nutrients you need for your brain to work optimally! The last thing you want is hunger getting in the way of your work. Taking the time to eat three full meals a day is imperative for on-the-job performance. You should also bring a few snacks to munch on throughout your shift to keep your blood sugar up and your mind alert.
Whether it’s going for a jog around the neighborhood or lifting weights, exercising is important for many reasons. Regular exercise not only gives you more energy for your work shift, but it releases endorphins which put you in a better mood and helps activate new cell growth in your brain to give you more brain power. Plus, like we’ve previously written about on the blog, working out is a great way to manage your work stress!
It might be difficult to get into a regular routine, but try your best to sneak a workout in every day. Instead of sitting on the couch, try standing, and instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Little things like this will pay off in the long run.
Cut down on caffeine
You might think that drinking caffeine will give you more energy to stay up all night, but there are far healthier and better ways to feel energized. While caffeine might be a great “quick-fix” when you’re feeling tired, it can make you feel anxious or irritable, lead to insomnia, and is not a long term solution for your energy levels. Instead of coffee and energy drinks, try drinking natural energy-boosting drinks such as green juices, smoothies, and tea. They can give you the same energy boost, but without the “caffeine crash” and negative health effects.
Have a consistent sleep schedule
It’s not easy switching to a nocturnal schedule, but the key is to try to be consistent. During the day, dedicate at least four hours for sleeping. Incorporate naps every now and then so you are well rested and ready to take on your shift. If you find it difficult to sleep during the day, trying taking melatonin or doing sleeping exercises such as meditation, and ry to put yourself in a dark, quiet location. Purchasing blackout curtains or an eye mask can help you get some proper shut-eye!
Transitioning your sleep schedule, and your entire lifestyle may be hard, but just remember that consistency is key and once you get into a routine, it’ll get easier. You can work night shifts and stay mentally and physically healthy at the same time, as long as you are committed to this routine!