Blog: The Healthiest Way to a Healthy You
by PaisleyH

Getting Enough Sleep as a Night Shift Nurse

Understand how to get enough sleep when you are a night shift nurse, with a busy and unusual schedule.

Date:   7/21/2022 6:28:25 PM   ( 4 mon ) ... viewed 24 times

As a nurse, you know it's hard to get enough rest. Depending on where you work, there are days when you're going nonstop and it doesn't end until you get home. When it comes to the night shift, it gets even harder to get enough sleep. Because you're retraining your body's natural circadian rhythm, you might feel like you never sleep properly. If you're a night nurse and are trying to get the right amount of rest, here are some things to help. 

1. Get Comfortable

One of the first steps to getting enough sleep as a night shift nurse is to get comfortable. When you get home, it can be tempting to grab a glass of wine and park yourself in front of the TV for a few hours. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, those actions could be disrupting your sleep pattern. Rather than just checking out the moment you get home, take a few minutes to reset your body and get comfortable. Change out of your dirty high rise scrubs into your favorite pajamas and take a hot shower. After you're all clean, make a nutritious meal to refuel your body after your long shift. By getting comfortable, you can set the tone for healthy sleep. 

2. Create a Routine

Creating a bedtime routine will also help you get healthier sleep. If you do the same things every time you get home, it'll be much easier to fall and stay asleep after work. For instance, putting electronics away at least an hour before bed and switching to light stretching or a book will help your brain relax. If you like tea, having the same flavor every time you get ready for bed will cue your mind that it's time for sleep. By creating a routine and sticking to it, you can make bedtime easier for you and your body. 

3. Reduce Caffeine Intake

Along with creating a bedtime routine, reducing your caffeine intake will make falling asleep easier. While it's easy to throw back the coffees or energy drinks during your shift, the effects last longer than you might think. Caffeine stays in your body for up to 10 hours after it's consumed; that last coffee could be keeping you up even once you get home. As much as possible, try to limit your coffee consumption during the latter half of your shift. While it may be unpleasant, it'll help you fall asleep and stay asleep easier. 

4. Pick Up an Active Hobby

Another thing that'll help you get enough sleep is picking up an active hobby. Now you might be thinking, "Nursing is active enough!" You're not wrong. Nursing takes a serious toll on your body. However, picking up a hobby like hiking, walking, or even yoga can help you sleep better. When you lead an active lifestyle, your body will be more ready to fall asleep at bedtime. If your schedule allows, add in a fun activity to help you sleep better. 

5. Set Boundaries With Family

Finally, set boundaries with your family or roommates. The majority of the world works on a 9-to-5 schedule, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, setting boundaries with the people around you will help protect the quality of your sleep. Something as simple as letting your housemates know when you're resting will cue them to keep noise to a minimum and allow you to rest well. It's not always fun to set firm boundaries, but it will help you sleep better after work. 

In summary, it can be hard to set a sleep schedule as a night shift nurse. However, by listening to your body and creating a healthy routine, you can ensure you get the rest you need. 


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