Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Night Shift Transition Tips

Working the night shift isn't easy. Here are some tips for making the transition:

1. Let your friends and family know your schedule. Nothing is worse than getting a phone call at 1pm after working 12 hours the night before. Explain it to them like this: 1pm for me is like 1am for you. That gives them some perspective.
2. Exercise before you go into work. It will energize you and you'll be less likely to get as tired later in the night.
3. Between 2-4am are the sleepiest times of the night. Don't leave charting for this time. Give baths or do something active. Also, have some caffeine around this time.
4. Don't drink caffeine after 4am. It will be more difficult for you to go to sleep when you get off.
5. If you're having trouble going to sleep during the day, Benadryl is something to try. Although it can be addicting so try to get sleep naturally.
6. Use a fan, ear plugs or a sleep machine to drown out the noise while you're sleeping. Depending on where you live, noise may be a problem. Apartment buildings can be very noisy during the day.
7. Wear a sleep mask or get blackout curtains/shades. Your body senses when there is light and will make it more difficult to stay asleep.
8. Cluster your days together. This may not be possible for some, but when you work every other day you are either working or sleeping at some point during the day. This can lead to depression.
9. After working a cluster of days only sleep a few hours your first day off, then get up, get dressed and leave the house. Go run errands and do things you've been unable to do while you've been working. You'll be really tired but you'll come home later in the day and go to bed at a normal hour. When you wake up in the morning you'll be back on the day time schedule and you'll be able to function with the rest of the world again!

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