I’ve worked night shift for a year and a half. And honestly, hated pretty much every minute of it. Not the people, but the actual schedule. It wreaks havoc on my body. Today I’m going to share with you my survival tips.
- Invest in a good set of blackout curtains. The sunniest of days does not break through my blackout curtains. The darkness helps my brain to believe it should be sleeping at that particular moment.
- Get a fan or a white noise machine. Neighbor mowing the grass? No worries, you won’t hear it over your white noise machine. My roommate does laundry, dishes, etc and I don’t hear her comings and goings thanks to my fan. Plus, if you tend to run hot it helps keep air circulating and keeps the room cool.
- Essential oils. Oh man, these have been a lifesaver for me. I use them a lot to support my sleep. Lavender in my diffuser and on the bottoms of my feet before sleep, every single time I sleep. I also have some wake-up/energizing blends I use to get me going. Lastly, headache support. I have a headache blend and it has substantially decreased the amount of ibuprofen I have to take to fix my migraines.
- Speaking of body aches, drink water. Do yourself a favor, invest in a good 1L water bottle and drink it. I notice a difference in my body if I don’t drink enough water compared to when I do drink enough water. Don’t like drinking water? Add some fruit or essential oils to flavor up your water.
- Pack your food. A lot of hospitals don’t have cafeteria access on night shift, or if you do have a cafeteria open late your option is pizza or burgers. So bring your lunch with you. You’ll make better food choices, you’ll actually have an increased chance to eat your lunch since you don’t have waste time running to the cafeteria, and you can bring healthier choices that are actually nourishing to your body.
- Make exercise a priority. Yes, working night shift sucks. Yes, it is extremely challenging to exercise, but taking the time to intentionally move your body will help you sleep better and it will help with your stress management. Seriously. But don’t do something for exercise that you hate, or that makes you absolutely hate your life. Pick something you enjoy. I love hot yoga so I try to go at least twice in my 4 days off of work. I also love running, so I try to squeeze that in some days too.
Night shift is challenging. Our bodies are not designed to be up all night. Our natural chemical process says we should sleep at night. I know there have been countless days where I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck. There have been countless nights of migraines and what I like to call “night shift nausea” but when I am consistently keeping up with these 6 things, my night shifts go so much smoother.
Night shifters out there, what do you do to help get you through this shift, tell me in the comments! I want to hear from you!