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12 Tips For Shift Workers: How To Work Night Shifts & Stay Healthy?

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Tips for night Shift Workers

Maintaining mental health in healthcare for night shift workers can be challenging. Many healthcare employees find it difficult to work odd hours. Working night shifts affects our circadian rhythm (24-hour daily cycle known), and melatonin synthesis. If not taken care of, it can cause many disorders like insomnia, dysfunctionality, depression, and neural damage.

Worried about the health risks associated with night shifts?  This article discusses the best tips for how to work night shifts and stay healthy. Trust us, incorporating some healthy habits, and mindful practices can make your night shifts much smoother.

Sleep Disorder Symptoms of Shift Work 

Many nursing agencies in Australia offer a handsome salary for night shifts. But, keep in mind that nothing is more important than your mind and body. Working night shifts can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Anxiety

These disorders negatively impact the performance of shift workers. About 30-35% of shift workers in Australia suffer from shift disorders. One of the biggest benefits of a healthcare recruitment company is the flexibility to work day, rotating, or night shifts at one’s convenience. Although working night shifts is challenging yet provides financial support to shift workers.

Continue reading to follow our healthy tips for shift workers for Maintaining mental health to balance work and life as well as increase productivity on night shifts. 

Healthy Night Shift: 12 Tips for Shift Workers

1. Set a sleep schedule

Our brains take some time to adjust to new routines. Make sure to follow the same sleep schedule of 8 hours every day. For example, fix your wake-up and bedtime. Avoid caffeinated drinks, and screens 2 hours before going to bed. Identify whether you are a nap person or need long sleeping hours. 

2. Limit your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine disturbs our sleep cycle and may cause insomnia, and anxiety. If possible,  don’t consume coffee, tea, or any other energy drinks at least 6 hours before you to go bed. Warm water or green tea is a better option to stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels. 

3. Eat healthy foods

Food such as cookies, pizzas, doughnuts, etc,  are rich in sugar levels which may lead to poor digestion, lethargy, and weight gain. Instead, switch to healthy foods like veggies, soups, fruits, salads, wholegrain sandwiches, etc. Home-cooked food is the best way to stay active, and healthy on night shifts.

4. Exercise regularly

Add Self-care as a to-do- task in your daily schedule. Start with a 30-minute workout at home, gym, or park. Getting close to nature is the perfect way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You can try also fun activities like biking, dancing, etc. It lowers the risk of mental and physical illness and boosts your energy levels. 

5. Stay Hydrated

Along with nutritious meals, ensure to keep your body hydrated. Whenever you crave tea, coffee, or a snack, make a habit of drinking water first. You’ll notice the difference that you feel more active and energized, and switch to healthy habits. If possible, drink at least 16 cups of water daily to wash away all the toxins from your body.

 6. Say No to Alcohol

To enjoy the benefits of quality sleep, stop the alcohol consumption. You may find it an immediate sleep solution, but it will leave you more tired, and sluggish. Not only does it affect the melatonin release in the brain, and decision-making but also depresses our central nervous system. Alcohol is a big no for shift workers.

7. Use free time wisely

While working night shifts, you need to pay a little more attention to your sleep cycle. Make efficient use of your days off. Enjoy, party, or whatever but make sure to not disturb your sleep routine. It is normal to wake up and go to bed at different times, but try going halfway to cope with your shift work. 

8. Keep Moving

While working in shifts, ensure to take short rounds after every hour. It will keep you awake, and promote a healthy flow of blood in your body. Try simple workouts like arm, neck, and leg stretching.

9. Cluster night shifts together:

“Many studies reveal that nurses working in rotating shifts are likely to suffer from psychological disorders.”  To break this monotony, it is preferable to work in cluster night shifts. It is even recommended to stick to the same sleep cycle even on your days off. Making your body adaptable to new routines every then and now will lead to loss of concentration and dissatisfaction.

10. Strictly Stick to a Routine

Plan a weekday routine with wake-up time, daily tasks, me time, household chores, and bedtime. Once done, don’t you dare to make any changes or procrastinate things. Check mark your tasks, and you’ll see the huge difference in your state of life. Discipline, Determination, and Consistency are key to success.

11. Get your household on board

Need help? Ask your family or housemates to support you in setting up a new routine. Stick your daily routine on the refrigerator or message them. So, they won’t disturb you while sleeping and can remind you if you are skipping something.  Make sure to enjoy a meal with them to stay connected, and have a little chit-chat.

12. Take Naps during Shifts

The nurses working till 6 a.m. must take short naps for 20-30 minutes in a quiet, and dark place. Napping in Night Shifts is the right of shift workers, and helps reduce work report errors, and restore alertness. It also facilitates them to recover quickly from late-night work.

Wrapping up!

We know healthcare professionals have to work untraditional hours. Working in odd hours means you are forcing the body to incline against nature. Our mind and body take some time to shift to the new routine. All you need to do is stick to the routine. Following these health care tips will help you monitor your daily routine, and identify the areas of improvement. So, you can alleviate all the risks at an early stage. Make self-care a topmost priority to minimize the health risks of working night shifts.

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