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Travel nursing brings many benefits, including the opportunity to live in and explore a part of the country you would not normally visit. One way to give yourself more time to enjoy your new destination during an assignment is to work the overnight shift. But if you do this, you will need to ensure that you get enough sleep during the day.
Without further ado, here are some ways to do that:
In order to get quality sleep during the day, you have to trick your body into thinking that it is night. Your body is designed to be awake when the sun is up, so you have to make your room dark.
Blackout curtains will block the natural light from outdoors and give you a dark environment in which to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends wearing dark glasses on your way home, when the sun outside is bright, so your internal clock can begin to wear down and start preparing for sleep.
Many people will set their home's air temperature to a lower rate at night, especially in the winter, to help save energy. You can duplicate this in your home, or at least your bedroom, during the day to help your body settle in to sleep.
Caffeine may be important to help you stay awake for your night shift, but be careful. According to WebMD, caffeine can stay in your body for as many as 14 hours. Even having a cup of coffee at the beginning of a 12-hour shift can make falling asleep difficult. If you must have some caffeine, limit your intake to one serving at the beginning of your shift, and switch to other beverages after that.
A glass of wine after your shift may sound relaxing, but alcohol may actually disturb your sleep. Yes, it may help you fall asleep, but the quality of your sleep once you do is harmed. You may wake up too early or wake up during the day while you are trying to sleep.
Quiet can be hard to achieve when you are asleep at a time when everyone else is awake. If you are staying in an apartment, consider hanging a sign on your door that indicates you are sleeping and asking for quiet. You can also invest in a white noise machine to help cover outside noises, and wear earplugs when you sleep.
Overnight shifts are part of life as a nurse, and some travel nurses prefer the overnights so their days are free to pursue other activities and explore the community they are traveling to for their placement. Yet, in order to be at your best when you are on the job, you need to get quality sleep during the day. Find ways to get better sleep during the day, so you can continue to give your patients the best possible care.