As a new RN, I recently accepted my first night shift job working in the emergency department. I’ll be working the graveyard shift of 11 PM – 7AM and no I am not nuts. Working in the emergency department has always been a dream of mine and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunitiy to do it so early in my nursing career. That being said, I was willing to take whatever crappy shift they would give me in order to get my foot in the door. I’ve been googling (pitiful how that’s not a commonly accepted verb) the sh*t out of night shift work, health, paleo, primal, Weston A. Price…all the hippie stuff and have come up with some strategies I’m going to try to implement to keep my sanity and health.
1. Keep the sugar to a minimum. Calories after midnight still count, even though those chick-flicks say they don’t, trust me…they do.
2. Sleep in a cave. I’ve started the process of turning my bedroom into a girl cave. Painted neutral grey walls, made my bed so cozy and working on ordering blackout curtains and shades.
3. Protect my sleep. I’ll be on a schedule opposite of normal humans so it’s going to be really important to say no to commitments and protect my 7-8 hours of dreams during the day. If I’m going against everything my body wants to do, sleep wise, I better at least be getting 7 hours a night..err..day.
4. Limit the coffee. After reading this great article by Mark Sisson, I’m going to keep my coffee to 2 cups per day when I get up and then switch over to tea. I tolerate coffee well but also don’t want to stress my adrenals more than they already will be.
5. Accept and be at peace. While working the night shift is far from ideal, there are a lot of positives that can come of it. Finding those positive aspects and accepting that this is my life for the moment will help keep my stress level low. I’m lucky enough to be working my dream job, full time and have benefits. Pretty awesome if you ask me!
Any night shift workers out there with any tips? Hooray for fellow zombie workers!