Being a nurse and working the night shift can be challenging when it comes to getting your sleep. I'll never forget the first time I worked night shift. It was from 7p-7a. I was fine until midnight rolled around and my body did not want to cooperate. I could not stop yawning, my eyes burned and I literally thought I was going to die I was so tired.
I thought there was no way in hell that I was going to make it until 7am. Plus I had an hour drive once my shift was over. Needless to say I made it with the encouragement of my coworkers, but it definitely wasn't easy.
I am sharing some tips and tricks that I have learned over the years that have helped me get my much needed sleep and remain functional while working the night shift.
The Calming Effects of Lavender
I used to toss and turn for hours before I would actually fall asleep. It just seemed like my mind would not shut off. When I first became a nurse I was constantly replaying my shift in my head when I got home. I just could not get my body to wind down.
Now with the help of some lavender essential oil, when my head hits the pillow I am out until my alarm clock goes off. I didn't realize how calming lavender was until it was recommended that I rub some on the bottoms of my feet and on my neck before I go to sleep. If you are having trouble unwinding and falling asleep after your shift I would definitely try this out.
Listen To Music
I have found that no matter what time I get in the bed after work that there is always some kind of outside noise like lawn mowers that irritate the heck out of me and keep me up.
My latest solution is listening to relaxing music through ear phones from my phone. I personally love listening to the smooth jazz station through Pandora. I turn the volume up just enough to drown out the noise outside my window but not loud enough that it keeps me up.
Work Out Before You Go To Sleep
Trying to find the time and energy to get a workout in when you work nights may seem unrealistic but it's definitely doable.
The first time I heard some of my coworkers say that they were going to the gym right after their shift I thought they were crazy. That was until I tried it. To my surprise it actually helped me sleep better. If I was really tired I would just shorten my workout. Most of the time a good brisk 30 minute walk is all you really need.
Don't let the stress of working nights and lack of sleep take it's toll on your body. Do whatever it takes to get 7-8 hours of good restful sleep per day.
I've learned that getting a sufficient amount of sleep is crucial for a healthy mind, body, and skin especially when you work the night shift. Without it your brain and body cannot function properly.
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Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse who works the night shift at a large midwest hospital. Her passions are nursing and skin care. She believes that nurses spend so much time taking care of others that they forget to take care of themselves. It's possible to be a night shift nurse and feel good and look great!