By Aubrey Schieuer
As a travel nurse, you may be asked to work the night shift from time to time. Switching to nights is a bit of an adjustment, so we’re here to help! If you’ve read our first installment of Night Shift Tips, you’re already well on your way to making night shifts no problem. Here are five more tips to survive the night shift with a smile.
Getting your body moving right before you head to work is the perfect way to inject your night shift with some sustained energy. A great exercise session increases your heart rate and releases adrenaline, so your body will be fired up and ready to go. Bonus: a satisfying workout clears your mind and reduces stress, so you’ll be mentally refreshed as well.
If you can find an air vent near your station, you’ll feel more alert with cooler air circulating. If not, splash some cold water from the bathroom sink on your face to wake yourself up. The nice, refreshing change in temperature will send the message to your body that you’re supposed to be wide awake.
Good old gum is great for perking up your night. Chewing a piece of gum helps you stay attentive by increasing blood flow to your head from moving your jaw muscles. Also, the smell of peppermint can stimulate your senses and give you a boost.
During the night shift, your patients are all asleep (hopefully!) and there typically aren’t any major procedures scheduled. If you’ve got some downtime, get to chatting with a fellow nurse. You’ll make time go faster and keep both of you awake and ready for anything.
Yes, long shifts are exhausting and it’s tempting to wind down with a glass of red wine when you get home. But alcohol reduces REM sleep, meaning you’ll feel even more tired the next night. Avoid excessive alcohol to have sweet dreams all night long.
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