Staying Awake on Night Shift. The World Health Organization considers it a probable carcinogen—and research suggests that if you spend your nights wide awake, you're more likely to suffer not just from certain kinds of cancer but also diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cognitive impairment. This means the night shift can get a bit boring. Listening to music can be a great way to keep the mind awake. But there are ways you can work the night shift and stay healthy—and caring for your own health will help you care more effectively for others. Learn the best ways to stay awake at work. 14. There are many challenges that face those who work the night shift.The body’s normal rhythm is to sleep at night and remain active throughout the day, so doing the exact opposite can cause stress and various potential health problems—that’s the bad news. A regular exercise routine is part of a healthy lifestyle, but quick bursts of cardiovascular activity can induce alertness even if you don't have time for a lengthy workout. Instead, drink coffee or tea. The best way to prepare for night shifts requires you to incorporate a number of items; food preparation, organize the household, inform close contacts of your schedule, transition your sleep pattern, prepare your bedroom for daytime sleeping, exercise and booking a social event. Over 15 million Americans work night shifts, or have jobs that require them to rotate to nights. Weird hours be damned, I’m gonna help get you healthy. When your shift is over, take another short 15-minute nap before driving home to help re-energize your body and mind, making the commute safer. Night shift work linked to depression. Staying awake on night shift can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Try our 12 tips. Surviving the day after an all-nighter can be more difficult than it was to stay awake in the first place. Little did I know at the time that I would work nights for a very long time (five years and counting!). If you are one of these people who are being asked to work the night shift, back-to-backs or third shift hours for the first time, you might be struggling to get through it while maintaining your high standard of performance. Night shifts are notoriously slower than day shifts in all different lines of work. Don’t let others talk you into skipping sleep for other things. Overall, I am grateful to be able to work nights. Learn about the best and safest ways to stay up all night. With time and focus you can make night shift tolerable and maybe even enjoyable (and for a small fraction, the best thing since sliced bread). There are some habits to add to the daily routine that could help someone stay awake at work. Holy cow. What foods to avoid on a 12 hour or night shift. Typically, the bulk of busy hours is during the day time. In addition to napping at work, consuming a moderate amount of caffeine, and following a balanced diet, other tips for how to stay awake for a night shift include: Keep your workstation brightly lit : Your circadian rhythms are based on natural cycles of light and darkness; the release of certain hormones help you feel alert during the day and sleepy after the sun goes down. Bonding with co-workers not only makes the night shift easier to handle, but good communication between co-workers can also help increase the likelihood that a shift will run smoothly. Cluster night shifts together. Socialize with other night shift workers. Look for groups on social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Meetup) that connect night shift workers in your area. Over time these employees may develop shift work disorder , a condition characterized by insomnia symptoms when they attempt to sleep and excessive tiredness while they are at work. The extra calories could lead to weight gain. Relax before trying to sleep so your mind can unwind and process what happened during the shift. The night before stay up a little later than normal. With so much demand for nurses, doctors, officers and store clerks, they are being asked to work night shifts, overtime and more strenuous work during regular hours. The above tips are just a fraction of the ways to help you stay awake during a long night shift. Anyone who works night shift knows how hard it can be to focus and stay awake. Manage Yourself. As a nurse, working the night shift can be an inevitable part of your work life. The DTN Home Care blog has an article giving 10 tips on how nurses and caregivers can stay awake during a night shift. Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep. However, if you find that working night shifts is detrimental to your health, there’s a solution. Exposure to the light is a mood enhancing trick that can increase your ability to stay awake for a longer time. Healy, P. (1996). It also makes sure you are awake and alert before the start of a shift (Which is a good thing). By planning for adequate rest after every night shift, you can avoid some serious complications of chronic sleep deprivation, such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and depression. The night shift creates a completely different environment than the day shift; one that causes a nurse to become more resourceful since there is fewer managers, directors, and Physicians on duty. Listen to Music. Exercise in quick bursts to stay awake during night shifts. I got 20 years of age on you (I'm 45), that may be part of my problem with staying awake too!! Your other two meals can be eaten outside of work… Becoming self-employed means you choose when and where you work, and can lead to higher career satisfaction and a better balanced life. Good, restorative sleep is hard to come by on the night shift, especially for those who have family commitments during the day. Not only are you one of very few medical staff in the hospital, but you also have to battle against the darkness to stay awake all night. Many shift workers are trying to sleep during the day and stay awake at night to work, leading to complaints of trouble sleeping and staying alert on the job. It's important to snack a little during your night shift, but don't use food as a distraction to stay awake. 1. The Military Energy Gum from Amazon is my go-to option every time I have to work a night shift or study throughout the night. Prioritizing healthy living 24/7. Either way, you can pull off an all-nighter with a few successful and simple tricks. I occassionally work with a young 30's agency nurse who does 7, 12 hour night shifts a week so his wife can stay home with their baby daughter. During night shifts, it may be helpful to turn on extra lights. Here are some instant tips for night shift nursing that may help you to combat this problem – 1. The night shift, or third shift work is a big part of many industries. If you are someone who relies on caffeine to stay awake during your shift, be sure to stay away from energy drinks that are loaded with sugar and large amounts of caffeine. Night shifts are daunting for a number of reasons. How on earth are people able to stay up until 8:00 AM? Regulate your sleeping pattern to coincide with after-work down time, says night nurse Tom Trimble. Workout routines for a 12 hour or night shift. Sometimes the dreaded all-nighter just can’t be avoided. When You Have No Choice. Reading the above isn’t pleasant especially if you have to work night shifts, but not all hope is lost and there are things that you can do to minimise the … The problem is, shift work doesn't just leave us zonked. Staying awake all night for work, studies, sleepovers, or night-shift assignments can be tough on anybody. Get up at your normal time. What liquid calories will help your 12 hour or night shift. Try taking a 90-minute nap before heading into work. If you work the night shift or rotating shifts, ... doctors can prescribe medications to help people stay alert when they need to be awake and help shift workers fall asleep. Napping is also helpful for night shift workers as it can improve alertness while on the job. I used to work on a 8 hour rotating shift at a major wine bottling facility in my area, operating a bottle depalletising machine. Keep cool. Getting quality sleep is important in order to stay alert, react quickly, and get home safely. Tiredness at work is common whether you work part time or full time, day shift or night shift. Make sure you have plenty of sleep prior to working at night. It gives an instant energy boost that provides maximum concentration until the morning. Among them: Make daytime sleep your #1 priority. For me its simple. Many night shift workers are dependent on caffeine for survival. At Shiftwork Services we recommend three key areas that can help you on night shift. Tips on staying awake during the night shift. The National Sleep Foundation suggests shooting hoops or taking a short, brisk walk to decrease sleepiness. Nursing Standard, 11(15), 7-7. I would see the night nurses when I started my shift at 7:00 AM and they all looked exhausted! These are the exact strategies we work with our night-shift clients in our 1-on-1 Coaching Program! Stay away from alcohol or sleeping aids as they can interfere with, rather than offer more, restful sleep and make getting through that next shift even harder. The best way to maintain a social life when you work the midnight shift is to befriend other people who have similar hours. I've worked shift work which includes 12 hr nights for 17 years and I never sleep even though I have plenty of opportunities to do so. If you have to stay awake for one night or adjust to a new night shift at work, these basic techniques will let you know how to stay awake all night long: A bright light has a powerful effect on your eyes, brain, and body. It’s helpful to cluster night shifts together and stick to a night shift sleep schedule even on your off days. Try limiting yourself to no more than two healthy snacks and one meal while you are on night shift. Unfortunately, as a junior doctor, these are among the many things that you have to get used to. 16. You have to get plenty of SLEEP during the day of the night shift. Shift work can be demanding when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, especially for those who work night, early morning, or rotating shifts. While a slow day is often a welcome break for a rush, it can make it more difficult to stay awake and alert. He lives about 80 miles away from the hospital and doesn't have any problem driving home night after night. 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