Switched to the Night Shift? Tips to Make the Transition Easier

If your employer changed your schedule from days to nights, you may struggle to stay up and complete your duties. Drinking coffee and eating large meals might not be enough to carry you through the night. You may also find it difficult to sleep during the day. A lack of sleep can take a huge toll on your health.

Here are some very important tips you can follow to help you adjust to working at night and getting the sleep you need during the daylight hours.

Eat Healthy Before and During Your Shifts

If you eat large or unhealthy meals during the night, stop. Eating late at night may be potentially dangerous for your health. Your body repairs and rebuilds its systems during the night, including your digestive system. Eating the wrong things late at night can make it difficult for your body to digest and eliminate waste.

You can protect your body and its systems from problems by eating your main meals before your shifts. Focus on eating protein-based foods, such as tofu and lean turkey. Also, try to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet than sweets and high-calorie snacks. If you want to eat snacks, try fresh vegetables, fruit, and cheese.

Energize Your Body With Water Instead of Caffeine

You’ll also need to change what you drink during the night to stay healthy during your shifts.

Although caffeine can keep you alert and help you focus on your tasks, the substance might not be good for you. Caffeine stimulates the part of your brain that keeps you alert and aware of your surroundings. Once the substance wears off, it can cause you to crash or feel sluggish. To counteract these feelings, you drink even more coffee and soda.

Drinking too much caffeine can also cause you to stay awake during the day. Instead of falling into a restful sleep, you stay alert. By the time you do manage to fall asleep, it may be time to wake up for your next shift.

Instead of drinking caffeinated beverages, switch to plain water. Water energizes, hydrates, and soothes your body’s tissues, including your cells. Water also lacks calories, fat, and other factors for weight gain.

Invest in Light Therapy

There are other ways to stay alert during the night. One of these ways is to change your body’s internal clock.

People who work nights or overnight shifts often struggle to fall asleep once they complete their duties. These individuals may stay awake for hours before they begin to feel sleepy enough to rest. Exposure to natural light (sunlight) may be the reason for this issue.

Your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) uses sunlight to tell it when to get up and prepare for the day. Once the sun sets in the evening, your internal clock winds down and prepares your body for sleep. For night shift workers, the inability to stay alert at work can be difficult.

One of the things you can do to reset your internal clock is to use light therapy. Light therapy treats conditions that affect your ability to sleep at certain times of the day, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and circadian rhythm sleep disorder. You use light therapy to switch from days to nights.

Light therapy equipment usually includes a special lamp that emits light similar to natural sunlight. The equipment may also come in a box or container that controls how much light is emitted from the lamp. The container is usually placed on a stand to make adjusting it easier.

Some therapy lamps require the supervision of a doctor or a specialist who treats sleep disorders. However, it’s possible to find light therapy lamps online. If you wish to purchase a lamp online, be sure to consult directly with a reputable home equipment and medical supplier.

Use a Therapeutic Foam Mattress

A medical supplier may offer other items you can use to sleep better after your shifts, including special mattresses that support your body.

By not sleeping properly after your shifts, you prevent your body from staying healthy and rebuilding itself. You can eventually become sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on your health, including headaches, high blood sugar, and heart disease.

To sleep better, invest in a therapeutic foam mattress. These types of mattresses not only support your tired muscles, they prevent soreness in your body’s joints by contouring to your body’s natural shape. When your body’s tissues receive the rest they need, you may be able to get through your shifts better.

You can consult directly with a home and medical equipment supplier about foam mattresses for therapy. A supplier may request information about your body shape, weight, and height to help you find the mattress you need.

Getting through your nightly work duties isn’t always easy. But with the help of Corner Home Medical, you can. Contact us to learn more about equipment that may help.