So, you work the night shift and you’re not a real zombie!? What!?

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!

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So, you work the night shift and you’re not a real zombie!? What!?

Rest and Recover

 

So by now you’re probably thinking, “wow this sucks….guess this is just how it’s going to be” NOT TRUE! There is a whole lot you can do to get better and feel better!

Let’s get to it:

 

1. SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP! For some reason just because you can survive, albeit poorly, on 4 or 5 hours of sleep people think it’s a good idea. It’s not, it’s a horrible idea and you will get fat and depressed.  Lack of sleep causes all sorts of cravings, specifically sugary carbs. So now you’re tired, probably stressed, and you’re eating candy.  Massive fail. Please go to bed. Just get in bed an hour earlier than you usually do, leave your computer in the living room and put your phone on silent. If you have an iPhone turn it over, when it lights but it is very bright. Try to get yourself on a solid sleep schedule, at least 7-8 hours every night. You will be amazed how much better you feel after a few weeks.  Lastly, the theory that you can sleep in on the weekends and “catch up” on sleep is not true. It’s a load of crap.

 

2. Try going gluten free.  Although it seems that going gluten-free is pretty trendy these days, about 50% of the US population (celiacdisease.about.com) could potentially benefit from it. 

 

 

3. Cut the caffeine. No one needs to drink a Trenta size coffee from Starbucks. No one. However, since you’re exhausted and just trying to get through the day the coffee pot is calling your name all day. Resist it! Caffeine triggers the adrenals to release more hormones; you want them to rest, not work! Try cutting back a cup of day or switching to an herbal tea. You will give your adrenals a rest and be more hydrated.

 

Healing your adrenal fatigue can seem overwhelming so just stick to a few changes at a time. If three changes seem too much, just focus on one, sleep would be my recommendation! Good luck!

Rest and Recover