Updated: Everything You Need to Know When Switching from Day to Night Shift
Everyone in the healthcare industry has experienced a night shift before.
A night shift usually being from after 10 pm to before 6 am. Overnight shifts can be hard, and if taken consistently, can lead to Shift Work Disorder, a sleeping disorder usually caused by overnight shifts.
Switching from day to night or vice versa confuses your body for the first few weeks and can be hell if you don’t make certain adjustments to your daily schedules and routines. Taking these steps can help you avoid the troubles and ease the transition.
Coffee and tea will become your best friend. Both are the better option over sodas and energy drinks but are not perfect so remember to keep it in moderation to avoid jitters and crashing. The Mayo Clinic suggests no more than 400MGs of caffeine a day or roughly 4 cups of coffee. Remember not to drink it too close to the end of your shift to avoid problems falling asleep.
Initially exercising to increase your energy sounds crazy, but it works. Aside from weight loss and an increase in overall health exercise has other benefits. Studies have found that regular exercise reduces fatigue and increases energy. For tips on finding time to exercise in a busy schedule, check out our blog. And while traveling to your location take a look at our eating healthy while on the road blog.
Plan Your Meals
Your first meal of the day is the most important meal of the day, a message you’ve heard growing up it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Especially for night shifters. Preparing your meals ahead of time decreases the chance you’ll skip a meal or go for the cheap, unhealthy option. For those who are culinarily challenged, meal kit services are the way to go. They are healthy and save time!
Use Your Food Schedule
Your eating schedule can help you hack your body into resetting your internal clock. Don’t eat 12-16 hours before the time you want to wake up, and your body will adjust to the schedule a lot faster. Try to shift your eating schedule with your new sleep schedule, and it will help you adjust. Meals can be hard the first couple of days as your body is used to eat at certain times, but it can help.
Speaking of hacking your body, creating a sleep schedule tells your body its bedtime. Taking time to wind down is essential. Try to stay away from screens an hour before going to sleep and try to avoid stimulating activities. If you can’t sleep due to heightened stress, try stress relief activities like brain dumps, meditation, or aromatherapy. There are also products designed to help night shifters fall asleep in the daytime that can be found on our “21 Essential Items” blog!
Buy Blackout Curtains
This is one big purchase what we highly recommend when transitioning to nightshift. It’s human nature to sleep in darkness, but when you work in the night you need to sleep in the bright daylight. Blinds will help with the shading of the sun, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, ” Light and darkness are powerful cues that tell your body it’s time to rest or get you ready for a productive day. So it’s no surprise that light in the bedroom (as well as light peeking in from outside) has an impact on the quality of your sleep.” Here are some highly-rated blackout curtains we reccommend.
Use Light to Your Advantage.
One factor that people tend to forget when transitioning from day to night shift to use light to their advantage. Obviously, there is not any natural light at night and that is why you use artificial light to help wake your brain up. The human body is sensitive to light and it is important that you use the light around you to wake you up when you need to wake up. If you are sensitive t o caffeine using artificial light can benefit your transition. Here is the perfect Wake-up light that you might want to give a try.
Communication is Key
The hardest part for some can be doing all of this while raising children. It’s a good idea to communicate the importance of your schedule to the household and create a quiet environment for you. To increase the amount of time you get to spend with your loved ones try scheduling events in advance.
Making the switch is hard and not only on you, but sometimes it’s necessary. Hopefully, these tips can at least help you make the transition easier.