C.-based overnight infant care agency Let Mommy Sleep said.Learning how to adapt to a different sleep schedule is one of the hardest obstacles that a night shift nurse must overcome – especially since their sleeping pattern is one that is in reverse to the majority of the population, including their family and friends.
“You have to schedule your sleep.” She suggests nurses take measures to create an environment conducive for sleep by using curtains that darker the room; and disconnecting things that will disrupt sleep, such as the door bell, phones and electronics.
“Going back to sleep once you’re up is next to impossible,” Laukaitis said.
It is important to choose the items that provide energy but do not cause sleepiness or a ‘crash-and-burn’ effect later on in the shift.
Adopting a ‘grazing’ approach towards eating while working the night shift is also suggested, meaning a nurse consumes smaller, more frequent light meals with raw salads, nuts, fruit, and vegetables.
With the majority of patients asleep during the late shift, nurses must also find ways to manage what is considered a less busy (or less stressful) workload in between the continuous monitoring of patients throughout the night. At the end of a night shift, nurses return home where they usually rest and rejuvenate in the early hours of the day.