credit: the half-blood prince
Guest post by Mary Ward
Perhaps you are new to working at a hospital or just feeling out of sorts and just plain lousy. Working the late night shift at the hospital is incredibly challenging to many people in the medical profession.
All adult human beings require seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Sleeping during the day is not as restorative as night sleep. Medical professionals that work the late night shift rarely get the seven to eight hours of sleep that they need. Not getting enough sleep can cause problems with mood, concentration and memory. In addition, missing out on quality z’s can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Until a time when hospital patients no longer have to spend overnight stays in the hospital, medical professionals are not likely to stop working the late night shift any time soon. Therefore, it is critical that individuals in the medical field develop and practice healthy sleeping habits. Here are some tips to help you survive a late night hospital shift:
- If you are having trouble getting any quality sleep, you should start a sleep journal. Write in your journal every day for a minimum of two weeks. Make an appointment with your doctor in order to determine which treatment is best for your situation. Take your sleep journal with you to your appointment.
- Try wearing your sunglasses on the way home from work if it is light out when your shift is over. This will signal to your body that it is time to go to sleep. When you get home, draw the shades and climb in bed for a good day’s sleep.
- If you are stuck working the late night shift at the hospital, try to take a nap during your lunch break. Studies indicate that just twenty to thirty minutes of sleep can make you more alert and ready to get back to work to finish your shift.
- Limit your caffeine intake to no more than 500 mg per day. In addition, only consume caffeine in the first four hours that you are awake. Consuming caffeine to late into the day or night can disrupt sleep.
- In order to help your body adjust to working the late night shift at the hospital, keep up with the routine. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time of day or night whether you are working or not.
- Make sure that your family, friends and neighbors know you are working the late night shift. Let them know when it is okay for them to call or come by and when you will be catching up on sleep. You may also want to ask your neighbors to keep the noise to a minimum when you are resting.
- Do not expect to function fully during the day just because you work the late night shift. Avoid planning any additional responsibilities during the time you should be sleeping. If you do not respect your body’s need for sleep, you will not be able to function at work or enjoy the time you spend with your family and friends.