Whether you’re a nurse, a factory worker, LGV driver or a police officer, at some point you’re probably going to work a night shift. Love it or hate it, working nights is an inevitable part of being in many industries.
If you’re a newbie to the nocturnal lifestyle or an old-timer still struggling to get used to nights and need some tips on how to cope through the wee hours, read on for our advice.
Keep to the same sleep schedule
Whether you go straight to bed when you get home or stay awake for a while to wind down after work, try to keep to the same schedule each time. If you’re unsure how to get ready for your first night shift, try staying up as late as you can the night before and sleep for the majority of the day before the first shift. Or, go to bed as usual the night before, sleep in late and then have a nap in the evening beforehand.
Pretend it’s day time
Trick your brain into thinking it’s night time in the day. Wear a sleeping mask so your eyes can’t sense any light when you go to sleep. Invest in a blackout blind or curtains and use ear plugs so you can’t hear your noisy neighbours at 11am. If you prefer some noise when you sleep, download a white noise app on your phone or turn your bedside fan on.
Don’t overload on caffeine
Coffee, tea and energy drinks are okay in moderation, but try not to rely on them. Although they will give you a boost for a short amount of time, drinking caffeine-loaded drinks regularly isn’t healthy. Plus, you’ll struggle to sleep when you get home! The best thing to do is eat a good ‘breakfast’ before your shift, snack on fruit and drink water. Sounds boring, but you’ll notice a positive difference in your energy levels.
Feeling tempted to sneak off to the utility cupboard for a quick snooze? If it’s a particularly slow night, ask your manager or colleagues if there is anything you can help with. Organise your workspace or make a list of things you need to do in the next few weeks. Make sure to keep your mind occupied. The last thing you want is to be caught nodding off!
Time will go a lot faster if you have people you get on with at work. People on night shifts often form great bonds. Work together, get things done and have a laugh along the way.
Whether you’re a night shift veteran or a first timer, our tips can help you to stay focused when everyone else is tucked up in bed. Be proud of yourself; you’re doing vital work that doesn’t stop just because it’s 3am, keeping services and businesses ticking 24/7.
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