As most readers will know, I am a Nurse. This awesome, wonderful, and rewarding careers comes with it once teeny tiny little drawback, Night Shift. As 1.4 million Australians know, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that shift work is hard, a rotating roster is had, and Night Shift is just the pits. There are however a few things that you can do to help get through the shift and subsequent days following.
Plan your Sleep
Sleep doesn’t just happen, and if it does I don’t want to hear about it. You need to make sure there is a comfortable 8 hour gap were you are not responsible for the children, the in laws. or any other talks that requires your actual attention and input. Once you have planned your sleep make sure that there is room for the wind down from the previous Night Shift or daily activities. Also, allow for your sleep to go over. I know when I have my two nights the first day I only nap after dinner for 2-3 hours, I come home, sleep for nearly 10 hours, then tackle the last Night Shift, after which I spend a day without sleep until that night, colloquially called my “Zombie Day”.
Maintain your Medications
If anyone out there is like me, you have a boat load of medications to take at different parts of the day. They are also set up so that all of the “Sleepy” tablets are taken at night. This makes for an exceptionally awkward when the “Sleepy” tablets are doing their job, and your chugging triple shot expressos like they are lolly water just to stay awake. I have found though that I if I take my “Sleepy” tablets before dinner on a Night Shift night, I can manage well enough. You will need to find what works best for you, and if you are having any dramas please go and see your prescribing doctor.
It is easy on Night Shift to do one of two things, eat nothing at all, or stuff your face with chips, lollies, and other junk foods that seem to make their way into the workplace. Eating the meals you are awake for is key. It is also sometimes necessary to introduce a fourth meal to have around midnight. Otherwise you could end up being awake and active without food for 14 hours. Also, consider snacks that aren’t junk to take with your to work. This can be fruit, yogurt, muesli bars, or other “healthy” choices. I find that the only meal I miss is the Lunch on the day between shifts, I also find that a high protien yoghurt at around Midnight is awesome.
And that’s it. Everyone will have their own coping mechanisms, and we would love to hear from you in the moments below. Well I better use some of my advice and catch some shut eye before shift tonight.
Maintain the Rage