How to Prepare for Night Shift (Without Losing Sleep) 

If you’ve never worked the night shift, consider yourself lucky.

Working the night shift, especially your first time, isn’t easy. Whether you’re preparing for your overnight on-call or you’ve spent the last few days or weeks on the night shift, you’re going to need to be at your best all the time.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help you through it.

If you’re interested in learning more, then keep reading below. We’ll teach you how to prepare for night shift.

Let’s begin!

Gradually Adjust Schedule

This means that one should gradually adjust to the night shift throughout the week leading up to it. Begin by going to sleep and waking up a little bit earlier each day, and delaying meals accordingly.

During the day, get plenty of natural sunlight exposure to help the body understand that it should be awake, and stay away from caffeine too close to bedtime. When starting the night shift, try to get a nap in during the day so that you won’t be overly tired when it is time to return home and sleep schedule after work. 

Healthy Eating and Hydration

It is important to eat meals throughout the day that are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eating a nutritious dinner and snack before starting the night shift can provide a boost of energy to help maintain alertness and concentration. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, with additional fluids at night, such as electrolyte drinks or low-sugar alternatives.

Eating healthy snacks, such as nuts, cereal, fruits, or vegetables throughout a shift can also help keep energy levels up. Eating and hydrating properly can help ensure that night shift workers stay healthy and remain alert and focused while on the job.

Optimize Sleeping Wear And Environment

Wear comfortable thermal underwear for men, and lightweight clothes to get comfortable with minimal disruption to your bedtime routine. Keep your bedroom temperature between 18 to 22 degrees, install blackout curtains for a dark space in which to sleep, and use a fan to keep the air circulating.

Make the bedroom a quiet space – consider using noise-masking earplugs or a white noise machine if you’re sensitive to noise to further optimize your environment. Invest in comfortable pillows and a mattress that provide support for the entire night. 

Limit Screen Time

We all need a way to unwind, however, watching television and scrolling through our devices can actually trigger difficulty in sleeping. Blue light emitted from devices can suppress the production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. To best prepare for a night shift, allow for natural light during the day in the hours leading up to the shift and avoid screens for at least one hour before bedtime.

Try to take a calm and relaxing shower before bed, perform light stretching, or practice calming breathing exercises. There are also natural products such as melatonin to aid in a better night’s rest.

Night Owl Strategies: How to Prepare for Night Shift 

How to prepare for night shift is something that can be achieved if the proper steps are taken. Making time for sleep, taking regular breaks, and knowing when to put the work down are key components for success.

Try these steps for a few weeks and see how much difference they make. You’ll be prepared for a successful night shift experience.

For more valuable insights and ideas, make sure to check out some of our other articles.

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