The best way to maintain a social life when you work the midnight shift is to befriend other people who have similar hours. We have compiled 6 tips to help healthcare professionals make the jump from the night shift to the day shift. Our digestive system and body clock have not evolved with time, so eating when it’s dusk or dawn are good cues for night shift workers. Avoid these five common mistakes and you’ll adapt to the swing of a night shift quickly. Going against your circadian rhythm is no small task. Tip #1. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Night Shift . Paying off sleep debt and building resilience: In preparation for night shift, stay up later each night before night shift. Exercise Before Your Shift – Some may think that this will tire you out faster, but if you are able to kick start your metabolism with exercise before your shift, you will feel the positive effect for hours afterward. I cannot emphasise this strongly enough: if you have a long drive ahead of you after a night shift, please think twice before getting behind the wheel to drive home! On a similar note, get as much rest the day before your shift as possible. 1. When you work long shifts, whole days of freedom can make a big difference in how you feel when you go back to work. Try and sleep in as much as you can in the morning of starting the first night shift. You can also take 20 minutes and get some exercise in at your midway point in order to make it to clocking out time. “For this reason, communication from the day shift to the night shift must be thorough.” 6. Not getting enough rest before starting a shift. If you have a few days before you start night shifts, gradually taper your sleep and wake times towards the new schedule, for example, by rising 2 hours later each day and going to bed 2 hours later. Sleep—and nap—beforehand. Shift workers with rotating schedules should prepare for shift changes by adjusting their sleep times. Finish your shift with a light breakfast as the sun rises. Socialize with other night shift workers. AFTER YOUR NIGHT SHIFT Getting home from work. However, resorting to quick fixes will only make your shifts more difficult in the long run. Exhausted drivers are a threat to themselves and other members of the public too. Reset your sleep-wake cycle by refraining from eating for 12 to 16 hours before you want to be fully awake. Prepare the Night Before; If you have a long shift ahead of you, one of the worst things you can do is rush around in the morning to get to work on time. However, sleeping all day is not always an option due to classes and homework. Let’s say you are currently working a day shift and planning to rotate to a night shift the following week. You should gradually delay your bedtime by one or two hours each night a few days prior to starting the night shift if possible. Hang out with co-workers or friends that work nighttime jobs. Look for groups on social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Meetup) that connect night shift workers in your area. If you stay up all night and then sleep all day, you probably won’t be able to go to sleep early the following night. The night shift can create a vicious cycle that harms the quality and quantity of sleep you get. You want to make sure you are prepared for the changes that are about to happen. In the afternoon before night shift, close the blinds and get a nap to reduce any sleep debt before night shift. Before your night shift: • Most people can cope with up to a 2-3 hour shift in their sleep-wake cycle. 2. You can follow the steps below to adjust your sleep schedule for night shifts gently: Go to bed 2 hours late and wake up 2 hours late; Take a nap before your shift begins for the day/night; When you are awake, keep yourself busy to avoid falling asleep; Slowly change your sleep timings from night to day Other adjustments like going to the gym at night, and doing housework like dishes at 10 p.m. or midnight, rather than when you finish dinner, can also prepare your body for standing and working when it’s usually sleeping. Eat your “main” meal before your shift and limit yourself to only filling, easily digestible snacks overnight, if you get hungry. Find Constructive Ways to Keep Busy “Another factor to take into consideration about the night shift is it tends to be more “low key,” which can make the shift feel longer,” says Becker. Shift in their sleep-wake cycle by refraining from eating for 12 to 16 hours before you want make! 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