Tips for Transitioning Between Day and Night Shift

If you are making the transfer from the night shift to the sought after day shift it’s time to make an adjustment to your schedule, habits and much more. As of 2015, 15 million Americans work the night shift.

Making the move to the day shift can throw off many major biological functions when making such a drastic change to your schedule. You might suffer physical and emotional problems as a result. You’ll likely see changes in your blood pressure, appetite and sleep cycle.

Working night shifts forces your body to run opposite to its normal rhythm and a return to the day shift requires your body to adapt to the normal rhythms again. You want to make sure you are prepared for the changes that are about to happen. We have compiled 6 tips to help healthcare professionals make the jump from the night shift to the day shift.

Tip #1

Reset your sleep-wake cycle by refraining from eating for 12 to 16 hours before you want to be fully awake. When you begin eating again, your internal clock will reset as if it is starting a new day.

Tip #2

Address your new sleep schedule. Create an evening routine that prepares you for bed instead of getting ready for work. Adults require an average of 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night. Establish comfortable and quiet activities that your brain associates with going to sleep, such as brushing teeth, reading, deep breathing or listening to relaxing music.

Tip #3

Prepare breakfasts that kick-start your day. Many people have trouble eating first thing in the morning, but it is beneficial to put this meal in place when you are adapting to your day shift. A study found that eating breakfast decreases the risk of having a stroke. The more days per week participants had breakfast, the lower their risk for having a stroke. Include foods that provide sustained energy such as oatmeal with fruit or whole grain bread with peanut butter.

Read this: 5 Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

Tip #4

Drink a cup of coffee or tea to ward off drowsiness. Caffeinated drinks can provide a temporary lift, but don’t overdo it. It’s suggested to only consume 3 to 5 eight-ounce cups per day, or up to 400 milligram/day caffeine. Refrain from consuming drinks with caffeine at least five hours before going to bed.

Tip #5

Get back into the world of the daytime worker. Begin planning activities in the evenings. Participate in activities during the day when possible. Buy a calendar and write down dates, times and commitments to monitor your progress in adapting to the day shift. During the day, schedule health checkups or other appointments you put off when you were sleeping during daytime hours.

Read this: 7 Reasons to Take a Traveling Gig Over the Holiday Season

Tip #6

Call friends and family you haven’t seen in awhile and schedule a time to meet. Evening shift work often gets in the way of social activities, and evening shift workers lose contact with friends and acquaintances. You might find yourself fading pretty early after a full day’s work, but your body adjusts over time.

Have you made the shift from working nights to day shifts? What tips and tricks helped you adjusted to your new schedule? Share them with us in the comments below!

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