Building up to a nightshift
When starting a set of night shifts you have a couple of options:
Strategy 1:Â Stay up really late (at least 3am â€“ 6am) the night before, maybe binge watch a box set or read useful how to guides on the internet, then sleep for the majority of the day before your first nightshift.
Strategy 2:Â Go to bed as usual the night before , sleep in until late morning, have a big lunch then go back to sleep for an afternoon nap.
Drink water first and foremost and eat good quality food. Itâ€™s hard to be high functioning when you are symptomatically dehydrated.
Ease off on the caffeine half way through your shift or you will have trouble sleeping when you get home.
If you suddenly realise you are too tired to drive home, DONâ€™T. Get a taxi or phone a friend. As easy as it seems itâ€™s not worth the risk to you or others.
Your body reacts to sunlight. Wear dark glasses home, invest in cut-out curtains or an eye mask. Avoid artificial light as tempting as social media and the amount of LOLâ€™s is, it will make it harder to get some quality rest.
If you live in a noisy area or a noisy house ear plugs are a must.
Donâ€™t use alcohol to help you sleep. It is a sleep inducer but it will disrupt your REM sleep which impacts on how rested and functional you are on waking.
Keep your commitments to friends and family to a minimum, you wouldnâ€™t wake up at 3am to go and meet for breakfast. Remember while on nights you are essentially living life in reverse.
Getting back to days
How you cope with this depends on your circumstances but the best I have found is after post-nights breakfast, go home and have a four hour nap eg 10am-2pm then potter about and get some daylight. Go to bed at your usual time and you’ll be fully funtional the next day. If you have to stay up during the day try and have a nap at some point and avoid any activity that is mentally or physically strenuous.
In all seriousness, please look after yourself and appreciate no matter how long you have worked night shifts it does put increased stress on you. Â