When you take on the role of a travel nurse, you agree to long shifts and working at unusual times. In some cases, a hospital or medical facility will ask you to work the night shift. Transitioning from the day shift to the night shift seems challenging, but you can simplify the process.
Change Your Eating Schedule
A healthy meal plan is essential for any nurse. The challenge when you transition to the night shift is that you will not feel hungry at the same time. Avoid eating for an extended period. You want roughly 12 to 16 hours between meals to change your patterns. Start eating on a schedule that shifts from the normal daytime plan.
Eat your breakfast after you get up in the evening to prepare for your shift. Eating a breakfast meal at that time will help you regain energy for your upcoming shift and will help you transition into a new schedule. Enjoy lunch in the middle of your shift, when you take a break. After you finish your shift, eat dinner. By shifting your meals around, you teach your body that your morning is in the evening.
Plan Your Sleep
The average adult needs roughly 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each day. When you transition into a night shift, sleep is the main challenge. You need to shift your sleeping patterns so that you sleep in the day and have energy to last through the night.
Set aside enough time for sleep. Before you start a new shift, make sure you have a full 8 hours or more to sleep. Initially, you may need extra time to adjust your habits and give your body time to fall asleep. Create a schedule that gives you plenty of rest so you are energetic during your shift.
Put Up Blackout Curtains
Close the blinds and put up blackout curtains. You need a dark environment to sleep through the day. By putting in blackout curtains, you will encourage your body to sleep. If you are not able to put in blackout curtains, then put foil in the windows and then close the blinds. The foil will reflect light outward and will keep your room dark.
Use a White Noise Machine
A white noise machine is ideal when you try to sleep during the day. It blocks out the noise from your neighbors and reduces the number of disturbances to your sleep. Use the machine to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Do not allow your normal activities to fall off. Exercise on a regular basis to stay healthy and active. Regular exercise gives you energy to handle any task you may face. It also helps you stay awake during a night shift.
A travel nurse takes on unique shifts at a medical facility. In some cases, you need to transition to the night shift for your patient’s care. By taking the time to plan for the potential disturbances and adjusting your meals, you will find that the process is easy.