There are many challenges involved with being a nurse working NOC shifts. They can be difficult to maintain if you aren’t getting enough sleep, eating right, and staying active – taking away from patient care. However, there are ways to lead a healthy lifestyle if you’re working nights. Here are some tips for nurses working NOC shifts.
Maintain a Regular Routine
Sticking to the same schedule will keep you from feeling off balance, and it also helps with your circadian rhythm. This includes meal breaks and going to bed, and waking up at the same time daily. If you work rotating night and day shifts, the transition can be more difficult.
Get out of bed when your alarm goes off in the morning, even if it’s painful to wake up. Avoid hitting the snooze button because catching up on sleep isn’t possible. If you feel groggy at your next shift, take a fifteen-minute power nap in the staff lounge.
Eat Healthy Meals
Aim to eat three healthy meals a day, with breakfast being the most significant, since you need energy for the rest of the day. Also, don’t skip meals. It’s easy to forget when you’re busy and working NOC shifts. Keep a protein bar or shake handy if you’re swamped with work to maintain energy and concentration.
Keep Snacks Nearby
If you’re busy, trying to keep healthy snacks in one place is more accessible than having to find them between patient care. Besides helping with protein, crunchy items like nuts or seeds can help improve your alertness. Avoid sweets. While they provide a short burst of energy, the long-term implications of sugar consumption aren’t worth it.
Take Care of Your Health
Working night shifts can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Keep track of how you’re feeling, like soreness, headaches, or irritability. It’s easy to ignore what your body tells you when there’s so much work piling up. Remember that prioritizing health and wellness means better patient care.
Hack: There are some great ideas for gadgets and tools to help with this in our post, 8 Gifts for Healthcare Workers.
Drink Plenty of Water
Being dehydrated can slow your body down and cause confusion. Stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water a day. When you’re working NOC shifts, limit caffeine. Instead, taking sips of water every few hours is a healthier way to keep your mind fresh and active.
Getting in a few fitness activities during breaks will help you feel refreshed and energized. Go for a walk, do squats, push-ups, or sit-ups. If you have time to go to the gym before your shift, that’s great too. DAREBEE is a great resource for printable exercise guides for a wide range of settings.
Take a Short Nap Before Your Shift
Try catching some shut-eye for 30 minutes. It will make a tremendous difference in your mood and ability to stay awake. Don’t go over 20 to 30 minutes, or it will interfere with your sleep cycle.
Nurses working NOC shifts can experience a range of challenges that may take away from the quality of patient care they provide. However, there are many ways to maintain your health and wellness while you’re on this type of schedule. We hope these tips help you lead a healthy lifestyle when taking care of patients in need!
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