Changing your working schedule from day to night is already a hard decision to make, but if you are a support worker, you may on occasion be asked to work night shifts. This can be hard on your sleeping routine and can also affect your social life, your nutrition, and your family life.
But do not worry, with a little bit of help you can definitely manage! We’ve collected our top 5 tips that will help you survive those long night shifts.
TIP 1 – PREPARE YOUR BODY BEFORE THE BIG NIGHT
The human body is programmed to be awake during the day and rest during the night. Switching your schedule can be challenging and tough on your body.
If you are just about to start your first night shift as a carer or support worker, give your body a head start! If you have a couple of days off before the actual night, try it out and stay awake the whole night to see how your body reacts to the change.
Maybe try out the transportation as well so in case you find out that your bus is not running as regular as you know it to be, or maybe not operating at all, it won’t hit you by surprise. It’s always good to plan your journey in advance.
TIP 2 – EAT WELL
The biggest mistake night support workers can make is not pay attention to their eating habits during the late hours. It is already a big shock to your body that you have to work when normally you should sleep. Eating the right food can help you get through the night easier and give you a “good morning sleep”.
Start meal prepping! If you don’t cook, the alternative will probably be buying ready-made meals that you can heat up when you’re at work. This is not the healthiest option, but if you have no other choice, then we urge you to at least find the best organic options you have available to you.
If you can cook, then prep your meal a day before! Make sure you bring some fruits and nuts to get through times when you are feeling peckish. Also, don’t forget to pack enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
TIP 3 – KEEP MOVING
You can find yourself in a situation when you are so close to falling asleep. At those time, we all know, exercising is not the first thing that comes to your mind. But trust us on this one! When you feel really sleepy, just stand up and go for a little walk or go up and down the stairs for a bit. It will help you to boost your energy level and you will find yourself more awake.
TIP 4 – BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE
Having a coffee or a caffeinated drink before your shift starts can help to keep you awake and focused. But be careful with the amount of caffeine you take during the night as at the end of your shift you need to go home and sleep. Don’t drink it too late or it may give you trouble to fall asleep. Don’t drink too much either because it can have side effects you don’t want to experience when you are working.
TIP 5 – MAKE SURE YOUR BEDROOM IS COMFORTABLE
When you finally do make it home to bed, make sure that your bedroom is comfortable. Tell your family and friends not to disturb you on the days that you’re working nights and turn off your phone. Use some good earplugs and a blindfold to shut out the noise and light. Keeping the temperature of the room cool will also help you fall asleep faster. Make sure to get at least 6-9 hours of sleep so you wake up feeling fresh and rejuvenated.