For those of us that workdays, you can almost feel the sleepiness when thinking about taking on a night-shift. Though this particular shift may be challenging, there can be benefits. Here are some solutions that will encourage you to adjust and embrace it.
- Stick to a routine. By setting a daily schedule, you are aiding your mind and body into expecting and preparing for what’s to come for a long night shift. Over time as you stay consistent, your body will reduce in feeling sluggish or overworked.
- Incorporate a healthy diet. University of Nottingham article adds, “We consume at least a third of our daily calories whilst at work…” Consider what we put into our body reflects our performance and health at work. Try eating meals that keep you full and restore your energy. Pack healthy easy snacks and drink a lot of water. Hydrated muscles are very important when you are on the go.
- Exercise keeps you fit and physically prepared for your active shift. Exercising before your night- shift also influences a positive mind, allows you to feel more alert and awake. The Mayo Clinic supports a daily exercise routine prior to work and suggests you intake “both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of exercise” for muscle recovery and to avoid fatigue.
- Take your scheduled naps. If allowed, take advantage of your time to sleep. It is important not to burn your body out from exhaustion as it can affect your work performance. The National Sleep Foundation encourages employers to “nap strategically”. For night shift workers try breaking up your sleep in two’s, meaning sleep at home after work and again before you go back in. In doing this, you will be able to meet your essential hours of sleep.
- Build relationships with co-workers. Healthy friendly relationships can be beneficial as you can seek work advice, emotional support and a more exciting boost to going to work.
- Set small goals throughout the day. Goals are important because they can increase your work productivity and allow your shifts to feel swifter. By setting and achieving small goals, you’re more focused and excited about your work accomplishments than dwelling over the duration of your shift.
In reality, give yourself time to adjust to your new overnight position. Everyone’s body and way of coping are going to be different. It may take various trials and errors to figure out what works best for your body and mental wellness.