Because healthcare is a field that requires medical professionals to be present around-the-clock, night shifts probably won’t go away anytime soon. Working the night shift has its advantages, but it may be a struggle to get used to the hours.
Pros & Cons of working as a night shift:
The advantages of working through the night include: the ability to get differential pay, enjoy a slower pace of work, and in some cases work only 3 or 4 nights/week.
But one of the biggest disadvantages worth noting is the challenge of having to fight off sleep during your shift, especially in the early morning hours. The good news is that the longer you work night shifts the better it gets.
So how do you do it?
- Always eat a full meal before your shift.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep during the day.
- Wear a good quality digital watch all the time
- When you get home after daybreak, don’t go to sleep immediately.
- Make sure you manage your shifts in such a way that they work with your family’s day and night schedules.
- If you work multiple shifts, try to gradually work towards the night shift.
- If you are working extra shifts, try and save that money for the unexpected such as in case of illness, or disability.
- Keep your personal business for the time when you’re the most alert.
- To ensure you sleep soundly during the day, use a sleep mask, earplugs and black out curtains.
- Don’t depend on drinks or sleeping pills to put you to sleep.
- Don’t drink more than a cup or two of coffee in 24 hours.
The bottom line…
The key to surviving the night shift is to take care of your body. If you don’t do that, you’ll never feel well, no matter how much melatonin you take or how much you try to reset your circadian clock. It’ll all become a domino effect in the end.