Posted by / Wednesday, December 3, 2014 / No comments / , , , , , ,

10 Tips to Survive the Night Shifts

Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to balance life when the night shifts show up on the calendar. Although they inevitably mess with our rhythms, there are some steps to take that will help with survival during the night shifts and making life a little easier.

Here are my 10 tips on how to make the best out of night shifts:
  1. Get enough sleep beforehand. Create an atmosphere of sleep if you need to - use ear plugs, eye masks, room darkening curtains and the scent of lavender. DON’T use alcohol to help you sleep because it can disrupt the REM cycle of your sleep so you will feel less rested when you wake up.
  2. Make healthy meal and snack choices. It is essential to choose the right foods and drinks during night shifts to get energy and avoid crashes from too much sugar or caffeine. Eat proteins, veggies, fruits and drink plenty of water. Eating small portions of food throughout the night will help to regulate your sugar level and provide a steady source of energy. A healthy you is a happy you!
  3. Be active to stay alert. If the night shifts are going slow, make sure you are being productive and getting things done. If you need an extra burst of energy, try doing something active like running up and down the stars or throwing down a few burpees in the break room. P.S. this is also a good way to impress your co-workers :)
  4. Don’t skip the workouts. Be sure to plan time for workouts. It will be difficult at first but getting a workout in before your night shifts can give you a burst of energy. If you start skipping your workouts, you will notice a difference in your health and stamina. Stay energized by continuing your workouts!
  5. Use caffeine, don’t abuse it. Caffeine is great to indulge in before or at the beginning of night shifts, but don’t become too dependent on it or drink it for several hours before you need to sleep. It can disrupt your circadian rhythm which will make shifted sleeping even more difficult.
  6. Wear a watch. It can be disorienting to work during the time you normally sleep, so wear a digital watch during night shifts. This will help you stay alert and not miss important responsibilities that depend on a timer.
  7. Get to know your co-workers. Night shifts are better with friends! Get to know your co-worker so you can look forward to enjoying the time you get to spend with your friends during the work night.
  8. Create a healthy balance. Make sure to intentionally plan enough time with friends and family so you don’t let those crazy night shifts get in the way of the important relationships in your life.
  9. Don’t commit to daytime activities if you need sleep. Just because you aren’t working during the day doesn’t mean you are available. That is your time, so make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep when you need it.
  10. Monitor your health. The stresses that come with night shifts can alter your health. Make sure to check in and make sure you are staying healthy or it may be time to adjust your schedule.

Night shifts have their benefits, but they can also a wrench in a good sleeping, eating and working out schedule. Make sure to prepare for success in night shifts by following these 10 tips and share any additional tips you have!

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