Pumpkin Spice and Everything at Night: Staying Energized on the Night Shift
As the world outside dims, travel nurses on the night shift all around the country are preparing to begin their workday. To stay focused and energized on your next night shift, Gifted Healthcare has created a list of tips to help you all night long.
We’ll explore some tried-and-true strategies and have added a touch of autumn flair to help you stay awake and embrace the fall season.
1. Develop a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Being well-rested is the most important part of staying healthy and on top of your game on the night shift. While it can be difficult for shift workers to maintain a stable sleeping schedule, try to be as consistent as possible. This will make falling asleep and waking up much easier and reduce your chance of crashing while you’re awake.
Two big tips to aid your sleep would be to limit your use of electronics before bed and invest in blackout curtains to darken your room during the daytime. Luckily, this time of year shortens our daytime light
Try to remain open-minded about your new schedule as you navigate developing a routine that works for you. Once you’ve figured out which sleeping schedule works best for you, stick to it.
2. Only Use Your Bedroom for Sleeping
Do you use your bedroom for activities other than sleeping? If you’re someone who has trouble falling or staying asleep, you might need to find a new room for all other activities like watching TV, working out, or even just lounging.
By using your bedroom exclusively for sleeping, you strengthen your brain’s association between “bedroom” and “sleep.” If you find yourself lying awake and struggling to fall asleep, try moving to another room, maybe pick up a thriller novel to get in the spooky season. Here is a list of top-voted thriller and mystery books.
3. Stay Hydrated
Due to the nature of the job, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to stay hydrated. But drinking water is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health.
Bring a refillable water bottle with you and drink steadily throughout your shift – you can enhance your water with something like Liquid I.V. or Nuun Hydration to add a little yum to your hydration.
4. Eat Healthy Snacks During Your Shift
Snacking is a great way to stay energized over the course of a long night. However, it’s important to eat the right snacks.
Almonds and cashews are high in healthy fats and protein. Avocados are superfoods, which means they’re nutrient-dense and contain relatively few calories. Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie options with natural sugars and fiber.
This time of year, treat yourself to a PSL or another delicious fall coffee to give yourself a little autumn spice with your caffeine boost.
5. Focus On Your Patients
While nighttime might be a quieter time in many hospital units, some patients require more care or assistance at night. With fewer visitors and distractions, take advantage of the quiet time to focus on your patients.
Paying more attention to detail and providing an extra level of care for your patients overnight is a great way to stay focused and show initiative on your team.
Physical exertion causes the body to release endorphins, which act as a natural energy boost. Staying fit and active will give you the energy you need to thrive on the night shift.
Studies show that just 10 minutes of light exercise will significantly increase your alertness. If you don’t have time to work out before your shift, there are ways to fit exercise into your work schedule. Lunges, wall-sits, and jogging up and down the stairs are great ways to stay active while you’re on the job.
7. Work Your Night Shifts Consecutively
If you can, try to schedule your night shifts consecutively. This will help you maintain a stable eating and sleeping routine, which will keep your energy levels high.
Working consecutive night shifts will also allow you to enjoy your days off, rather than spend them catching up on sleep.
8. Be Careful on Your Days Off
Although it may be tempting to change your schedule to suit your days off, be careful about disrupting your regular sleeping and meal schedules.
Staying awake for too long before starting your first night shift of the week will disrupt your internal clock, negatively affecting your energy levels. Eating at irregular intervals prevents your metabolism from functioning efficiently and optimally.
Do your best to maintain your routine. Your body will thank you later.
9. Training and Education
There are lots of resources to help night shift workers thrive. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer online classes created by experts for professionals like you.
Night shift training offers in-depth strategies for your professional and personal life intended to maximize your performance and minimize your stress levels.
10. Make Time for Friends & Family
Most of the world works during the daytime, which makes socializing difficult for healthcare professionals who work nights. However, it’s important to spend time with friends and family.
Your social life greatly impacts your emotional well-being, which is closely tied to your physical and mental health. Make a holiday plan, go shopping for costumes, pick up special candy to hand out for trick-or-treaters, and maybe even head to a pumpkin patch!
Maintaining your emotional well-being will help you provide better care for your patients and help you have a longer, happier career.
Travel with Gifted Healthcare
The night shift can be challenging, but with a combination of smart strategies and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice, you can stay energized and provide top-notch care to your patients. Remember, your dedication and sacrifice do not go unnoticed.
Gifted Healthcare is here to help you find a travel RN assignment or per diem shifts that work for your career goals. Connect with a recruiter today to discover your next opportunity.