I’ve worked nights in some shape or form for as long as I can remember. It’s quite a long time since I had a straight foward 9-5 job. Whilst I cope reasonably well with anti social hours it’s not an easy work pattern to have. It can be hard to balance sleep and life in general, even more so if you have a family.
I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips for any of you who may be new to a night shift role.
As silly as it may sounds. Sleep. At any opportunity. I no longer struggle to sleep during the day and completely relish in the thought of a Nana nap. The little man will occasionally still nap during the day so I take full advantage of this and snuggle up beside him. I often have to do a 12 hour night shift with no sleep after the last one (the joys of a childcare shortage and awful inlaws) so any sleep I can keep is appreciated.
Turn off your phone and write a note for the door
There is nothing worse than phone calls and text messages from people when you’ve just finished a night shift. I DO NOT WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU. If you ring me and KNOW I’ve been on nights, then I’ll probably want to kill you. If you do have the chance to sleep, you’ll want this to be unbroken. Turn off your phone and leave a little note on your front door asking for any deliveries or cold callers to
disappear down a hole/pester your neighbors instead.
A hot relaxing bath can make the world of difference at any time and even more so when you work night shifts. Sometimes before nights I’ll run a bath, let the little man play in his bedroom and have a soak. I use nice bath products and try and relax before a hectic night. My current favourite is Olverum bath oil* which was created way back in 1931 by a wine merchant in Germany. Olverum makes bathtime feel a spa.
It’s delicious blend of aromatic essential oils from 10 plants; Eucalyptus, Lavender, Juniper, Lavandin, Lemon Peel, Siberian Fir Needle, Exotic Verbena, Lime, Geranium and Rosemary and is perfect for helping to wile away the tension and stress caused by night shifts. I love filling the bath with hot water, adding a few drops of Olverum (it’s extremely concentrated stuff and you only need a minute 5ml in each bath) and sinking into the soothing water. Olverum soaks into your skin during your bath so you’re not left with a greasy residue on your skin, just baby soft skin and a relaxed peace of mind.
Increase your vitamin and supplement intake
Instead of reaching for sugary products in the hope of an energy boost, opt for healthy foods to increase your vitamin intake. I also take supplements like Bio-Gluco Control* which contain Delphinol® which slows the absorption of glucose from the digestive system into the bloodstream and ChromoPrecise® supports the process which then channels glucose from the bloodstream into our cells, then using it as energy.
I find that taking two Bio-Gluco Control tablets in a morning helps create a more sustained energy supply and reduces energy highs and lows which I am prone too during night shifts. It also helps with my cravings for naughty food (my night shift munchies) and means you’re less tempted to reach for the sugar and Carb laden options. I also find it helps with my concentration levels (looking at 4 computer screens at 4am is never fun) and and makes me feel more alert.
I make lists of things to do, appointments and schedules which can all be read by my husband or Mam. Hubby and I often have a 15 minute hand over from him coming in from work to me going out and the same again on a morning. It’s important to know where the little man should be or any medication he should be taking by anyone looking after him. I even make lists of people I need to ring when I’m on rest days as I really struggle to make important decisions or even take in conversations sometimes when I’m tired and on nights.
Explain to your friends and family
When you work nights it’s really hard to manage social activities. People who work traditional hours don’t always understand that although it’s 7am in the morning I need to go to bed, or I need to grab an hour before I leave the house at 6.15pm. I also find it really difficult to motivate myself to do things when I’m in the middle of a set of nights, or even after the last one, especially if it’s been a really busy or particularly bad shift. Weekends off are a rarity so chances are if you ask me to go out on a Saturday night, the answer will be no because I’ll be at work, going to work or have just finished work and need to sleep.
I found it so much easier when I explained to my friends and family how night shifts work, how tired I get and how sad it makes me feel knowing I miss lots of social gatherings. They’re much more understanding now and most invites start with ‘If you’re not at work …’
Working night shifts isn’t always terrible
* Going home on a Monday morning to crawl into bed when everyone else is just starting their week feels amazing.
* Being able to do your food shopping, go to the bank or make GP and dentist appointments is much easier because days off during the week are fab.
Do you have any tips for coping with night shifts?
Products marked with * are product samples sent free of charge.