Hi, my name is Annemarie and I am the Client Services director for Night Nannies.
I use this blog as a way to give you tips and idea's in all areas of childcare and development.
Posted 23 April 13
10 Survival Tips for Night Shift Nannies and Nurses:
If you are a night time nurse or nanny, you will find the following tips useful:
1. Always eat a full meal before your shift. Carry a few snacks as well, to keep hunger at bay.
2. Get at least 8 hours sleep during the day. Your families need the same diligent care during the night as they do during the day.
3. When you get home after daybreak, don’t go to sleep immediately. Relax for a while, watch TV or do housework. Your body will tell you when you’re ready to sleep and your sleep will be more relaxed.
4. Make sure you manage your shifts in such a way that you sync with your family’s day and night schedules. Keep sync points for kids, spouse, parents, or roommates so that you don’t feel out of the loop. This will give you a sense of normalcy and make you feel that you’re all on the same clock.
5. If you work multiple shifts, try to gradually work towards the night shift. Go from day shift to evening shift and then to night shift so that your body adjusts to the work timings.
6. It’s tempting to work more night shifts to make the differential pay. However, try and save that money for unexpected changes in case of illness, or disability. To make sure that you are motivated the right way, use your differential income to pay back loans or to make investments.
7. Keep your personal business for the time when you’re the most alert. You may want to pay bills, check your child’s homework, and make important calls and so on. It’s best to make use of your shift ending time in the mornings for these tasks. You’ll be alert and awake when your shift ends, just before your body starts decompressing for its ‘nighttime’.
8. To ensure you sleep soundly during the day, use a sleep mask, earplugs and black out curtains. Create a ‘nighttime’ effect in your house to cheat your body into thinking that it’s indeed night and time to sleep. Regular exercise keeps your body flooded with positive hormones and makes you feel good about life. Regular exercise will also help you go to sleep naturally and deeply.
9. Don’t depend on drinks or sleeping pills to put you to sleep. This will not help your body establish normal circadian rhythms and your sleep architecture might be altered. For restful sleep, allow your body to relax, listen to soothing music and read a pleasant book. Stay away from activities that stimulate your mind or cause you anxiety, thus keeping sleep at bay.
10. Don’t drink more than a cup or two of coffee in 24 hours. Caffeine may help you get past the occasional feeling of lethargy and stimulate you, but in the long term, caffeine is addictive and disrupts your circadian rhythm. That apart, coffee is diuretic and you don’t want to wake up to pass water during your sleep time!