Do you work a job that requires you to alternate between night shifts and day shifts? This kind of schedule is hard on the body, and it’s important that you take care of yourself. Re-regulating yourself properly after your night shift ends is very important for your overall health and safety.
Here are five wellness tips for getting your body back on track post-night shift:
Take Strategic Naps
There’s nothing wrong with taking a nap every now and then if you’re feeling tired, especially if you’ve recently completed a long night shift. Feeling tired is your body’s way of telling you the obvious: that you need sleep. The trick is not napping for long periods of time. If you do that, you could disrupt your body’s natural sleep rhythm and make falling asleep far more difficult when it’s actually time to go to bed. Try to keep naps to a maximum of a half-hour or so.
Sleep the Right Way
When it’s time for a full night’s sleep (or a full day’s, depending on your shift), make sure you’re sleeping in the best way that you can in order to maximize your sleeping time. Make your room as dark and quiet as possible — wear an eye mask and earplugs if you have to. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before you head to bed. These simple steps will ensure that you get great quality sleep every time.
Use Sunlight to Your Advantage
When it’s time to wake up and be active through the day, open your curtains and let as much natural sunlight in as possible. This triggers your body’s natural circadian rhythm and tells your brain that it’s daytime, so it’s time to be awake.
Working night shifts and transitioning back to day shifts is already putting a strain on your body. Don’t exacerbate it by eating poorly. Do your best to stay away from processed foods, and try to maintain a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and good fat. And avoid rich, heavy foods that will only make you feel more tired after eating them.
Fit in some good exercise during your time off of work. It’s good for you, and it can help you feel more energized by pumping endorphins into your system. Exercise will also help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep, when it’s time to go to bed later.
Transitioning back and forth between night and day shifts isn’t easy. But by being proactive about your wellness, you can make it as easy on your body and mind as possible.
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