Night shifts are commonplace when you work in the healthcare sector. If you’re a nurse, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to work nights at some point in your career. Night shifts can be long and drawn out, and they interfere with your natural circadian rhythms and sleep routine. If you’re facing the prospect of trying to stay awake in the early hours, this handy infographic is packed with tips to survive the night shift.

Working during the night limits the amount of sleep you get, and it can throw a spanner in the works when it comes to establishing a routine. A lack of sleep makes you feel tired and lethargic, but it can also pose risks for your health and safety. Missing out on valuable sleep increases reaction time, reduces learning capacity, and makes concentrating more difficult. If you’re tired on the job, and you’re a nurse, the implications can be alarming, with risks of administering the wrong drugs and injuring yourself, for example, with a needle stick. A 2004 study suggested that nurses working 12-hour shifts through the night are 3 times more likely to make mistakes.  

To combat tiredness, nurses are encouraged to nap beforehand, to avoid sugary foods, to increase caffeine intake and to try and engage in short exercise sessions. While this may not be possible during a busy shift, it’s beneficial to stretch the legs when possible. Taking a short break to get some fresh air could also help to keep weariness at bay. There is no evidence to back methods such as cranking up the AC or the volume on the radio. 

Nurses who work 12-hour night shifts face a higher risk of health problems and complications, and the infographic recommends trying to preserve your natural circadian rhythms as best you can. It can be challenging to stay awake while everyone else is snoozing, but hopefully, this guide will help.

How To Survive The Night Shift 1
Infographic Design By Bradley University

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