Graveyard shifts or also known as night shift is one of the working schedules that is more common to nurses or healthcare workers especially if you are newly hired. Though there are some people who prefer working during these shifts, most people prefer the normal working hours. Graveyard shifts may be hard to those who are not used to it. So, we have gathered some advice on how to handle your graveyard shifts and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Cluster night shifts together- this is helpful for you and your body to cope up and get used to the schedule. Rather than having a night shift today then having a day shift the next day, your body wouldn't be able to adapt to your working schedule. And study also showed less job satisfaction in not clustering your shifts. Though this may not be practical for everyone, it is still one way of helping you cope up with night shifts.
- Stick to a routine- plan out your daily life in order to still continue living a normal life even though you are on a night shift.
- Get your household involved- let your family know your schedule so that they will also know when you are available and when you are resting.
- Practice good sleeping habits- having good sleeping habits and a good sleeping environment will help you have a good rest even if you sleep during daytime. This helps avoid shift work sleep disorder, a common circadian rhythm problem that can cause both insomnia and excessive sleepiness in those working the graveyard shifts. The best advice for this is having a room with less light to enter, since you are sleeping during the daytime.
- Prioritize sleep- always prioritize sleep to keep your body healthy. Lack of sleep always deteriorates our body faster.
- Use caffeine wisely- we all know that caffeine helps us deal with sleepiness and helps us be more productive, improve memory, mood and physical performance. It is ok to consume caffeine as long as you know how much to consume. Don't wait until you are jittery and strung out. Also, avoid energy drinks as these drinks give negative health effects.
- Eat healthy- being in the graveyard shift has been linked to increased metabolic problems, it is highly advised to have a healthy diet. Planning your meal daily helps you eat more healthy food and helps you save time and money. Taking vitamins is also a must since you don't normally see the sun, vitamin D is a must.
- Stay hydrated- other than eating healthy, staying hydrated also helps you energize and alert. Avoid sugary drinks since those drinks spike up your blood sugar levels and then crash. Experts recommend drinking about 11 cups (88 oz.) Of water per day for women and 16 cups (128oz) for men to help regulate body temperature, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to the cells, and keep our organs to function properly.
- Nap effectively- taking a nap during shift hours helps you be more alert and effective. Always time your naps during break times in order to refresh your body even only until your shift ends.
- 1Exercise- graveyard shifts may be tiring to our bodies, but we still need to have time to exercise in order for our bodies to maintain healthy, have a proper weight, improve mood and cognitive functions.
- Limit stress- always take time to take care of your mental health. Being in the night shifts can have adverse psychological effects. Always have a self-care practice to handle stress effectively. Working proactively helps a lot in coping up with stress related problems in our jobs.
- Get in the right mindset- having the right mindset in any job always helps a lot and it makes our job easier. Being ready for work always helps your mind and body to overcome any obstacles in your work. If you don't have the right mindset for the job, you won't be able to handle any incident that may happen during your shift. Mental preparedness always helps in handling situations.
- Eat small portions throughout your shift- instead of eating a heavy meal before your shift, pack healthy snacks to eat throughout your shift. This will help your body be more active and alert and give you more energy.
- Talk to your co-workers- they can help you get through your shift and also help you have more knowledge with your work.
These are just some ideas to help you cope up with your graveyard shifts. Never allow stress to overcome you. If you think you can't handle the pressure anymore, always ready yourself to talk to someone to let the burden out of your system.