I adore night shift. Here are my tips for making it work, and how to transition back to the land of the living on your days off.
1. Always work three in a row. If you do on again, off again, you will die. If your unit scheduler won’t give you 3 straight, leave.
2. As others said, make sure your family/ those who live with you respect your sleep time. Get a regular alarm clock so you can turn off your phone.
3. I don’t use sleep aids bc I am always exhausted after my shift. But the safest IMO is Benadryl.
4. Follow this simple formula if you work Mon-Tues-Wed nights: Cone home from your shift Thursday morning and go to sleep, but be sure to get up by 2. Get out of the house, workout, see friends, etc. Go to bed when you’re tired, but try to last until at least 9. Congrats! You’re on a normal sleep schedule. Act like a human until Sunday night. Stay up as late as you can – 1 or 2 – then sleep in. If you can, squeeze another 1-2 he nap in before work. (This is the hardest part for me.) Slam whatever caffeine product keeps you going through Monday nite. Now you’re back kn nights.
5. This is hard if you have a family and are semi-awake during the day: Do not eat around the clock! Normal people don’t wake up in the middle of the night and have a full lunch; neither should you. Yet I often find myself eating 4, sometimes 5 meals in a 24-hr period. Make your biggest meal right before work, have a good source of protein at your work lunch, then eat a light breakfast before you go to sleep.
6. Work out on your days off only. Unless you are one of those weird people who feel more awake after workouts. I can’t handle it personally.