Do These 5 Things STAT For The Night Shift Nurse In Your Life

Rick Martinez

It takes a whole different type of travel nurse to work the night shift

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Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

I know because I am one. I've been one for years and years now, and I must say that I love it. I'm born and bred for working nights.

It just means something different to be a night shift nurse. This is why I'm writing this article for you, all other nurses, and especially other traveling nurses.

Yes, many of us travel nurses are day shifters at heart, and most of the time, it's fun having a good balance in life by working days and nights. But when you're not used to it, it can be tough going from one extreme to another.

So here are a few things that I've learned along the way that have helped me in my career as a night shift nurse, and if there is a night nurse in your life, then, by all means, implement these ASAP!

Grab a melatonin supplement for deeper zzz's

I'm a coffee fiend and if there's one thing coffee is NOT suitable for its deep sleep.

That's why I've turned to trying a variety of supplements and natural remedies to help me fall asleep faster and deeper. Things like hot tea, even warm milk, but none have done the trick the way melatonin has.

I found a spray at a local health food shop, and after 3-4 pumps, I'm out like a light.

Melatonin is known to promote better sleep, and if you're new to the night shift or your loved one is, then it's well worth a try.

Window cover-ups

I personally don't have an issue with the light streaming through the window, but some of my fellow nurses might.

A simple fix is to use heavy curtains or even "blackout" curtains.

If you're unsure what these are exactly, then recall the last time you stayed in a hotel and didn't realize it was light until like 10 am. It's usually because the heavy curtains they use totally block out the light.

Give the night shift nurse in your life a gift of sleep with some blackout curtains, especially when it's sunny outside.

Eat better

In theory and our minds, we all have a desire to eat healthily.

Am I right?

The problem with working graveyards is usually the good places aren't open. Do you know what is open? Twenty-four-hour burger joints, late-night taco trucks, and generally food sources that aren't, well, shall we say, good for you.

So eating better is undoubtedly going to be a simple hack to help you catch some zzz's when you get off shift. Make and pack your travel nurse a healthy dinner and strive to do it for every shift. Knowing that a healthy meal awaits will curb the desire to grab that cold pizza or a gut-wrenching burrito at 2 am.

So pack your night shift beau some wholesome good food!

Soothing sounds at the bedside

When we night nurses get ready for bed, the outside world is just waking up.

This might mean the neighbor mowing the lawn, the work from home spouse on Zoom calls, or even loud kids doing what kids do during the day. The fact is, this "normal" activity is not suitable for us nurses trying to get to sleep.

The solution?

Sleep tracks.

Put more simply, play some white noise, the sounds of the ocean, or something that has a soothing effect and will overshadow the sounds that would keep you up.

The ambient sounds will almost certainly drown out that loud lawnmower!

Be patient with your night nurse

The issue with night shifts is that you won't see each other as often if you work during the day.

This is especially true for couples or spouses who work opposite, one on days and one on nights. So make it a point to set aside a day every week when both of you are free and do nothing but spend quality time together.

That one special day is just what the doctor ordered!

The final word

Night shifts can come with a lot of challenges, from the physical to the emotional.

The best way to combat these is by making the night shift easier for your loved one by implementing simple hacks that will make their life better and more enjoyable. 

These include things like getting an adequate amount of sleep or eating healthy snacks before bedtime; using window cover-ups if they need it; seeking out soothing sounds at the bedside (white noise, ocean waves); and finally being patient with them as you both adjust to this new routine to find a balance between work and home lives.

If all else fails, don't forget about those special days where you devote time just for each other!

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX
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