Related Post: Should Your Nap on Night Shift? If you are new to night shift working, ask colleagues for their tips on coping but remember to follow the tips above. Below is a great video by TED Talks on why we need to drink more water and what happens if we don’t. Most people take a huge dose of coffee at the start of their shift in order to jump-start their day. Fresh and frozen fruits are better than…. Research has shown that night workers who were exposed to bright light during their shift and wore sunglasses on the way home to suppress light drifted off to sleep quicker and slept for longer after their shift than people who received no bright light exposure. For example, melatonin is released as it gets dark in the evening to make you feel drowsy, while melatonin is suppressed and cortisol elevated by the morning light to make you feel more awake. Are you getting enough sleep as a nurse? For some, this could be a safety issue and not recommended if your car is parked off the work premises. Melatonin levels rise while it’s dark, as this is when we are supposed to sleep and fall during the day when the sun is shining. Nap. The only true, sustainable way to overcome night shift with no sleep is to actually sleep…. Personally, chewing gum also makes me hungry, so get the snacks ready! If you sleep for under that amount, you will incur “sleep debt.” The only way to pay back sleep debt is to catch up on sleep you have missed, and this has to occur as soon as possible after it is incurred. (source). What Should I Eat After Working Night Shift? 10 high-paying jobs that will survive … Did you know being awake for 17-19 hours straight is the same as having 0.05 alcohol in your system? See our favorite blinds here on our recommended shift work tools page. Workers that consumed smaller — equivalent to quarters of cups of coffee — and more frequent doses of caffeine throughout their day experienced enhance wakefulness, performed better on cognitive tests, and had fewer accidental naps than those who had had no caffeine. This could be the ideal, quiet spot for a quick bit of shut-eye. How to Survive the Night Shift. If you work the night shift, chances are the answer is often no. Exposure to light triggers chemical events in the circadian pacemaker that affects your sleep and wake cycles. When is the best time to bank sleep before working overnight (if that is even possible)? Depending on your environment there may be a meeting room which is only used during the day. There is no sustainable substitute for sleep when working the night shift. This is because the human body is designed to sleep at night-time. When typical daily rhythm is thrown off balance, so too is metabolism. Remember that even when you are well caffeinated and feel fine, lack of sleep increases risk of making mistakes. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Taking a nap can become an essential element of working safely overnight. Planning your meals can help you to stay alert during your working hours and be more relaxed when you need to sleep. Shift Work and Family. Why? I've worked third shift in the past more than once, and am currently working a very late shift – my usual bedtime is 4am these days. link to How to Best Prepare for Night Shift the Day Before, link to Shift Work and Family. It seems that when you’re exhausted, no matter what you do to get through the shift, it’s always short-lived, leaving you scrambling for the next energy boost. "If you can, try to work the same shift every day." In the tea room. Dehydration deducts energy and can lead to various problems like fatigue, unconsciousness, heart palpitations or a state of confusion. However, research suggests taking a different approach to maximize the effects of caffeine for shift workers. Maybe it’s time you consider wearing blue light blocking glasses in the 90 minutes before bed? Some people can work at night with no problem at all, while others experience sleep deprivation and fatigue. The “lows” post drinking these liquids can be tough to get through when you’re already exhausted so we recommend trying a different poison – like water! The post is titled, “Bored on Night Shift? Again, set an alarm for yourself and do something different. I recommend enjoying a few cups of coffee between waking up in the afternoon and midnight. Create an environment conducive to sleep during the day with blackout curtains, earplugs and/or facemask. Even if you snagged a fabulous day shift precept spot, chances are you’ll be a night shift nurse as a new-grad anyway….and knowing how to survive could mean the difference between loving your job and absolutely dreading it. As a safety tip, if you are working on a task which is important like giving medications, setting up a machine with specific ranges or running a very detailed errand, have somebody else check your work if possible. Some people can work at night with no problem at all, while others experience sleep deprivation and fatigue. Recovering from a single on-call night or several night shifts can be grueling, as medical residents often only have a half day — at best a weekend — to do it. All rights reserved. In a meeting room. Once my final night shift of the week is done, I come home and conk out for three hours, and then immediately transition to my other full-time job: being a mommy. Shift work and long working hours have been linked to a number of health issues, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Good to know…Coffee and energy drinks can lead to much needed energy boosts, but these are often short-lived. Nurses, doctors, police personnel and also paramedics just to name a few, need to bring their A-game to work, consistently. Patricia Rose Brewster works the night shift. How to Survive on No Sleep: The Do’s and Don’ts ... All of us experience a night of poor sleep sooner or later. If you want more information about the tools we use to best wind down after a night shift from blackout blinds to eye masks, check out our shift work tool page here. Despite being sleep deprived and feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, you have to make food choices that won’t further aid the slump. Ways that you can control your exposure to light include: Keeping your bedroom dark will help to keep your body in sleep mode until it is time for you to wake up and begin your day. See also: How to master the art of the side hustle. As for the alcohol, you may fall to sleep quicker but you’ll need to use the bathroom frequently after falling to sleep. Despite sleeps huge role in fighting illnesses, aiding in digestion, regulating hormonal balance and just generally keeping us sane, sleep is often not a priority. (source). Russian twists with a ream of paper and wall squats anyone? Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info. © 2004-2021 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. The benefits of consuming bone broth include better joint protection, reduced inflammation, and…. Trying to survive night shift with no sleep is relentless. In this article, we look at possible causes and home remedies for dark circles under the eyes. At night, the circadian pacemaker releases the sleep hormone melatonin from the pineal gland, which causes you to feel less alert and raises your desire to sleep. Plenty of nurses work the night shift and love it so much, they have no plans of ever going back to days. This means the digestive system is simply not ready to break down these large meals and fats quickly. Your email address will not be published. These longer naps have been proven to give you an even bigger energy boost, but most night shift workers cannot function without mistakes when waiting for this “grogginess” to settle. How to Stay Busy Without the Internet”, Can’t Sleep After Night Shift? We don’t want these hormones to kick in just yet because we are working and need to be productive. High quality linen sheets can be a good investment for improving the quality of sleep. Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Ideally, your night shift naps should not exceed 45 minutes. These couple of posts will help with figuring out what to do after a night shift. This is because the human body is designed to … Or are you bringing your phone into bed with you and watching a lot of TV before sleep? The energy released will be much longer and more sustainable rather than the coffee “hit” feeling. Sometimes the safest and most responsible thing to do if you’ve experienced very poor sleep is to call in sick… before you arrive. In the emergency room, many of your patients are likely to be asleep or trying to get some quiet rest while you’re working on a night shift. Alcohol also messes around with your stages of sleep which can make things worse the following day. I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. The SCN generates circadian rhythms, which regulate behavioral and physiological processes in the body, including alertness, sleep, temperature control, and hormone production. Sleep is comprised of different stages, which complete in cycles of between 90 and 100 minutes. On the other hand, you should not drink more than 27-33 ounces (0.8-1.0 liters) of water per hour. Night shift workers are more likely to experience metabolic syndrome and have a 29 percent increased risk of becoming overweight or obese due to poor diet and the disruption of the body clock. By phase-forward scheduling, you let your body slowly adjust from the day shift, to swing shift, then finally to the night shift. I know this sounds crazy but it works. Nurses must find constructive ways to keep busy in order to survive the typically slower-paced atmosphere of the night shift. There are certain things you can do to help you survive the night: 1. Working at night involves successfully managing your sleep during the day — that is, to keep sleep debt to a minimum — and your fatigue during the night. Take a break from the screen every 15-20 minutes. Try these steps to keep your sleep in check and make your environment more favorable for sleep. If you’ve ever been tempted to complain about the physical and mental grind of your 9-to-5, then you might want to spare a thought for those hardy souls who earn their living nocturnally. The catch though is working out why you are not getting enough sleep. After your shift, it is also important to try and sleep as early as possible and not get distracted by checking emails or other tasks, as to encourage your body to transition into sleep mode. Mistakes are more common when we are tired so don’t be embarrassed to have your work double-checked. Then after this time, switch to tea, even the caffeinated tea for an hour or so. The drink bottle we recommend here on our shift work tools page does a great job to infuse these fruits while avoiding the pulp and pips. Access to the grocery store and adequate facilities to prepare food can be hard for night workers. In case you’re wondering, the speed at which you chew and the force of each bite doesn’t alter your mood but it could have a very slight impact on your level of attention. How to Stay Busy Without the Internet” and it’s definitely worth checking out for more unique ideas. Is the noise in your house too loud? Drink plenty of water, if you want to be alert during night shift job. I went about my normal duties as normal and then I had a three-hour sleep in the afternoon from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., I got up, I ate before I went on my night shift and then I had a coffee before I started my night shift. I know these drinks are a super popular choice for night shift workers, but recent research from The American Heart Association concluded that, “drinking 32 ounces of an energy drink in a short timespan may increase blood pressure and the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart.” (source). Getting in the routine of working nights can be difficult, though. Optimize your work and sleep schedule It can help to transition slowly from day shift to night shift. Chewing gum also showed a higher rate of productivity and fewer mistakes when working. Night shift workers are confusing this fine-tuned routine, so we need to keep the lights on to trick the melatonin into thinking it’s day time. Method 1: Stay up really late (at least 3am – 6am) the night before (calling/Skyping mates in different timezones or a TV marathon can help) then sleep for the majority of the day before your first nightshift. Can you relocate to another section of your home? Raw veggie sticks and hummus like celery, bell peppers, carrots and snow peas if you need some crunch, Fruit and nut (avoid the roasted type of nuts), Celery and peanut butter (bring a small container so you don’t eat the entire jar! “Try to avoid working a few days on the night shift then a few days on the day shift,” Dailey says. The issue with these foods overnight is two-fold. Artificial light can affect your circadian pacemaker in the same way as sunlight, and timed exposure to bright light can help to alter your body’s sleep cycle. If you’re intrigued, this trick should only be used if you still have 6+ hours of your shift to go to not impact your sleep when home. This is just another good reason to drink gradually throughout the night and not all in one go. If you work the night shift, you know you have a major sleep deprivation challenge to overcome, even if you tend to come alive after dark. Good to know…Don’t get too comfortable sitting in one place. Bringing the leftover pizza from home or ordering a fresh one via take-out is a sure way to make this happen. by Ian Samuels. What do doctors, nurses, firefighters, truck drivers, and air traffic controllers all have in common? In the end, surviving the night shift comes down to a lot of good old common sense: if you make sure to get lots of sleep, eat healthy and exercise, working at night can be a good thing for your career (and your life). Read more about us and our story here. Enjoy your “main meal” before you leave for a shift. This is obviously work place-dependent as you need a shower and towels but having a cold shower can really work to boost your energy levels if the facilities are available. The human body is controlled by an internal body clock, or circadian pacemaker, which is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Finding ways to cope can be the difference between living a healthy existence and being subjected to the many health and safety risks that are elevated during night shifts. Sleep is totally underestimated and something I particularly never appreciated enough when I started working night shift as a nurse. Simply changing your environment can work wonders for your energy levels. Daytime sleep can be lighter, shorter, and of poorer quality than sleep at night due to light, noise, and temperature. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site. But if there is an opportunity to sneak away somewhere on your break and have a nap then I recommended you embrace it. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. While I am a big advocate for drinking caffeine, particularly tea, I don’t recommend it if you have under 6 hours to go until you intend on sleeping. So this could be 5pm-3am, 6p-4am, 9p-7a, or a true 7p-7a. Once we get home the opposite applies. I get up really early the day of the night shift, so I got up at 5:00 a.m. on the day. Caffeine is a stimulant. I agree with everything I've read about creating a dark, cool, and quiet environment for sleeping, and prioritizing sleep. But if there is an opportunity to sneak away somewhere on your break and have a nap then I recommended you embrace it. Eat & Drink Well. Wear an eye mask, listen to relaxing sleep music (we talk more about it here) and even use a weighted blanket to make this sleep happen. If you run out of candy, the blood sugar crash on top of sleep debt is really miserable. This is the least recommended due to the busy traffic from other weary staff but it’s still been effective for me. Well, it appears from the research that simply chewing gum for 15 minutes can have a positive impact on alleviating the sleepiness. Eating a variety of fruits is important, but some fruits are better than others for people with diabetes. After all, even at the best of times, working the night shift (or the third shift, depending on your preference), can be an utterly draining experience. While a short nap before you start your shift can help to combat fatigue, a nap during your break may be vital for maintaining alertness and remaining vigilant. Managing a 12-hour shift schedule is firstly about prioritizing your own health, particularly around sleep, healthy eating and exercise. Our digestive system takes a different, slower role overnight (but this varies depending on the cycle of sleep you’re in). Shift workers can party and look sharp too! Applying some of the above strategies may help you on your way to coping better with working at night and ensuring that you get the right amount of sleep to function properly. Using some of the other tips in this article can help you to be more productive when you’re on the clock. Try your best to get back on a nighttime sleeping schedule with blackout curtains, earplugs, and by turning off your phone. This seems to be the most common advice I hear and read online in regards to staying awake on night shift with no sleep. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to In turn, you can get more done and feel good about everything you’ve accomplished in your shift. Then after these jobs are done and dusted, keep yourself busy by: We have an entire list of things you can do when you’re bored on night shift. Night shift work may also interfere with the body’s ability to repair DNA damage that occurs from normal cellular processes. 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. Is your room too bright? Advice for Getting Through the Night. How to Best Prepare for Night Shift the Day Before. Be careful about how long you nap for in order to ensure that you do not wake up during deep sleep. We are so busy juggling life as a night shift worker that our own health, including our sleep, slips to the side. How to Survive the Night Shift. Set an alarm for yourself where every 20 minutes you have to complete 10-15 pushups and 20 star-jumps etc.Keep moving and stay occupied until it’s time to go home. Sleep in your car. Even naps of 20 to 45 minutes in length have proven beneficial for shift workers to counteract fatigue. This approach sounds awful I know, but this hack to staying awake on night shift can work a treat. which goes into a lot more detail. Furthermore, another study found that intermittent exposure to bright light is almost as effective as continual exposure. In my experience when working night shift, the easiest way to stay alert and fight those tired feelings is to drink ice cold water and a lot of it… all night. Night shifts cause you to battle against your natural rhythms by trying to be alert when you are programmed to be sleeping. If going to work at night is inevitable in your line of work – whether you work as a nurse, a fire fighter, or in a clinic, it doesn’t mean your health has to suffer. Due to less water traveling around the body, there is also less oxygen flow to the brain and heart, causing them to work harder for the same outcome. Many of them work night shifts. Many of the processes in your body that are active in the daytime slow down at night to prepare you for sleep. (source). If you don’t have time for a longer nap over 30 minutes, that’s actually good because these extended naps can leave you feeling groggy or suffering from “sleep inertia” for a short period after waking. (source). Your drink bottle in a safe location close to your how to survive night shift with no sleep, this be... Focus how to survive night shift with no sleep the night shift upsets and muscle shakes reminder to drink more water and what if... 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