By October 4, 2010 1 Comments

How to deal with switching shifts; from day to night


it is important to get sleep as a travel nurseWorking as a travel nurse already presents itself with many challenges, couple that with switching to a night shift and you have yourself quite an adjustment ahead of you. Night shift nurses must be alert and ready to deliver patient care through the early morning hours while battling their internal body clocks. This is not an easy task as humans are programed to be awake during the day and to sleep through the night. When a traveling nurse makes the switch from day to night shifts, circadian rhythms are thrown off sync.

Working as a night shift nurse will take some time to adjust your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Controlling your sensory input will play a major role in your ability to switch from day to night shifts.

Traveling nurses working the night shift should pay close attention to their exposure to daylight before going to sleep for the day. Night shifts typically end in the early morning hours when the birds are singing and the sun starts to rise, so nurses ending their shift should try and avoid the sun as best as possible. Wearing sunglasses on your way out is a good way to keep the light to a minimum. Also, when going to bed you should try and block out as much daylight as possible by drawing your shades or perhaps wearing a sleep mask.

The normal activities of the day can also make it difficult to sleep during that time. The rest of the world is going about business as usual and that means kids are at play, traffic is at its highest and these external sounds can easily interfere with your sleeping. If you’re a light sleeper and easily disturbed with all the commotion around you, it may be wise to invest in some ear plugs, some other sort of sound-canceling device or radio with background noise. In worst case scenarios, you may try over-the-counter drugs to help induce a good day’s sleep.

In order for you to make this switch as smooth as can be, you must be diligent in your new schedule. Try and decompress shortly after your night shift and then turn yourself off from the rest of the world in order for your body to get the rest it so desires. Tuning out all distractions you’d normally face during the day is very important in re-energizing your mind, body and soul.

Here’s a site with tips on better sleep hygiene.

About the Author:

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.

1 Comment on "How to deal with switching shifts; from day to night"

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  1. Joe


    Nurses? Traveling? Nurses traveling? Sounds like a perfect introduction for the Dreamhelmet, the combination sleep mask sound blocking pillow. They even have secret pockets to carry medical supplies or an alarm watch. This could be a traveling nurse’s best friend – as seen in The Washington Post, Frommer’s Budget Travel, Businessweek and most recently Good Morning America – sold only online – about 30 bucks

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