It is not an easy task to stay awake, alert and focussed in the wee hours of the night when everyone around is fast asleep. But nurses need to undertake the responsibilities and implement the critical tasks. This makes their job even more challenging.
It is for this reason nurses are often diagnosed with a number of health issues and life-threatening ailments. In a variety of researches, the night nurses are often seen to develop grave diseases like gastrointestinal issues, heart problem, musculoskeletal injuries, cancer, and others.
These do not just cause health hazards, but they also have negative effects on the performance of the nurses. Naturally, nurses who are not fit and fine, themselves, are not able to deliver their best to their patients. For this reason, it is imperative that they restore their sleep cycle.
Here are certain tips that can assist the nurses to ease the issues that are associated with the overnight shifts and help them achieve the optimum amount of snoozing. Just take a look.
- Understand that it is a Lifestyle Choice for Everyone in the Household – Your family roommates or members will have to understand that they may be seeing less of you on specific days. They may also be required to work around your sleep and wake cycle. This, however, should be posted by you for them. You should make some adjustments like scheduling the breakfasts or dinners which will ensure that you have quality time.
- Create an Ambience Congenial to Sleep -Sleeping during the day is not normal and it goes against the circadian rhythm of the body. That is why as nurses who work nightshifts you must create bedroom environments which encourage the restful, long sleeps even when the sun is shining and the world is wide-awake. You should invest in curtains that block the lights completely. Invest in a white noise machine or box fan for assisting in blocking the noise from the outside or to drown out the sounds of those who are sleeping. You should allow at least 7-9 hours for uninterrupted sleeping. Stress the significance of the rest period to your family and friends for reducing your sleep interruptions.
- Do Not Overuse Caffeinated Products – For those working the overnight shifts, the caffeinated drinks are the best buddies. But if you are excessively dependent upon it, it can start casting an adverse impact on your body. More than 4-5 cups of it can lead to a number of issues like enhanced heart attacks, blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia and a lot more. So, you should be smart and never let your body depend upon it.
- Take Advantage of the Scheduled Breaks – Most of the hospitals permit the nurses working night shifts to take some nap during the schedule breaks. To help keep your energy level up, you should take advantage of these periods. Nurses have revealed that they often go for 15 minutes power nap prior to the commencement of their shifts. A little amount of respite often provides extra energy to complete the shift. Even if you fail to take naps, taking breaks is essential for helping you to stay alert.
- Eat Well and Stay Hydrated – For avoiding the gastrointestinal issues like bloating, nausea, heartburn, and constipation, you must eat a full meal before your shift starts. It is similar to people having breakfasts prior to their day job. You should avoid the foods that are high fat so that you don’t feel sluggish and you must restrict yourself to 2 cups of caffeinated drinks in 1 day. You should use stainless steel containers like water bottles for keeping your water cold throughout your shift. You should have in 12-hour shift, at least, 24 ounces of water. This will keep you from feeling fatigued. You should pack in a nutritional snack enriched with protein and low on sugar for the necessary boost required to perform the job.
- Wear Dark Sunglasses on Your Way Back – When you are returning home from your clinical setting, start to use dark sunglasses. This will prevent your eyes from being subjected to the bright sunlight. Once the eyes come in contact with the staunch sunlight, it will be quite challenging for you to grab a sound sleep. Therefore, you must keep this into account if you have a night shift.
- Stay Productive when Things Get Slow – Unless you work in the L&D or ER units with babies arriving at their own schedules, most of the patients are expected to sleep during your shift. As compared with the daytime hours, fewer people are going to be active also. During these slower hours, you can stock the cards, complete documentation and do the other pending tasks for assisting yourself during the busier periods or for assisting your colleagues during the next shift. If you stay busy, you will also stay alert. More work will also help you to fall asleep fast when you lie down after your shift gets over.
The above are some the things that you should keep in mind for having a restful sleep after nightshift. If you continue having sleep issues, you should consult with a reputed sleep dentist who can assist you further regarding the same.