How To: Get Enough Sleep When Working the Night Shift

Catching zzz’s and working night shifts seem like an oxymoron. Working night shifts are very confusing, tiring, and disorienting especially if it’s new for you. If you are on the night shift schedule, you need to ensure that your sleeping habits are providing enough resting hours so that you can be fully functional at work.

Here are a few tips to help you get through your day of rest:

  1. Leave work as soon as your shift is over. I know it’s hard and there’s too much going on or you may even want to have a chat with your friends who are on the following shift. But if you need sleep, staying back for an hour is a wrong move. It is best if you save your chats on your off-days or when you just get into work. Hey, there is always time to discuss the latest scrubs and the most comfortable footwear.
  2. Do all your chores and everything that you need to do after you leave work. By doing so, you can enjoy the solitude that comes with the rest of mankind leaving for work and the kids leaving for school.
  3. Ensure that your friends and family know your schedule so that you will not be unnecessarily disturbed while you snooze away.
  4. Try to make your bedroom as sound proof and as comfortable as possible. This may mean using the AC or a fan to mask external noise, as well as using heavy curtains or drapes. Use ear plugs if necessary to cancel all the sounds that may disturb your sleep. The more comfortable you are, the more peaceful your sleep will be.
  5. Ask other household members, who are home during the day, to use headphones with the TV and radio or play them at a very low volume.
  6. It is very likely that you will awaken when the kids arrive from school. If you do wake up, you should try taking a nap later in the evening before your next shift starts.
  7. If possible, have a short nap on your break. Sounds impossible as medical professionals, I know. You’ll be surprised how a quick cat-nap  will work wonders on your schedule and make you fresher and more alert for the remainder of your shift.

Night shift workers often suffer from sleep deprivation in the first few weeks of being on that shift. Try and change your sleeping habits as best as possible to accommodate your new schedule. Your ability to sleep during the day will determine your ability to perform on duty.

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