Night Shift Tips: How to Stay Alert All Night as a Travel Nurse

August 14th, 2018 | Posted by bbarr in Travel Nursing, Traveler Tips

Night shifts can be an exciting adventure, or more likely a dreaded change depending on your personality. Even if you have taken night shifts as a travel nurse in the past, it’s easy to fall back into the normal day-to-day grind of living your life during daylight hours. Here are some tips and tricks for transitioning back into your duties as a night shift nurse. Stay alert and healthy with these five techniques.

Lay Off Excessive Caffeine

We’re not saying avoid caffeine (we would never wish that on you), but excessive caffeine can make it hard to fall asleep once your shift is over, and your tucked into bed. For some, it can be difficult to get any shut eye during the day. Avoiding strong coffee and energy drinks will be difficult in the beginning of your night shift stint, but your body and mind will thank you later. Hint: If you’re having trouble sleeping after your shift, try blackout curtains.

Stay on Your Toes

Literally! Stay on your feet. When your body (and your toes) are moving, it’s a lot easier to keep your brain awake. Another way to keep your brain engaged is to download podcasts or other informational audio shows. There are also free smartphone apps such as RadioPublic, so all you need is ear buds to keep moving.

Here are three nursing podcasts to get you started:

Traveling Nurse Insider

Medical Rounds

The Nursing Show

Keep Hydrated

Staying hydrated can help keep your brain alert, even when your body is tired. You know that old saying, mind over matter? Water is surprisingly helpful for alertness but it also takes constant hydration to often feel the affects. Don’t forget to keep a water bottle nearby! Challenge your coworkers in a healthy contest to ensure everyone is well hydrated.

Well-Balanced Nutrition

When we’re sleepy, it can be easy to indulge. On top of that, caring for others often means less time to think about your own health as a nurse. There are a few apps that can help you track what your eating and drinking. Healthy foods help us feel better in the end, and these apps guide the way.

Here are just a few apps our nurses have used:

Lifesum

MyFitnessPal

Fooducate

Reprogram a Schedule

All of your eating, sleeping, and work may be at a different time than you are used to but that doesn’t mean you can’t reprogram your body to do these things at night. The key is persistence and sticking to the same schedule. Sleep for the same duration of time post-shift. Run your errands at the same time. Eat your meals, and consume your caffeine at the same time every day.

Looking for more information on night shifts as a travel nurse? Contact one of our recruiters today!

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