Medical professionals such as nurses, doctors, physicians’ assistants and others are often required to work night shifts. While this work is vital, it can also make it more difficult for you to remain active. Many nurses and doctors who work at night spend so much time taking care of the health and medical needs of others that they forget to take care of themselves. It is common for medical workers who work the night shift to immediately go to sleep when they get home. Since sleeping during the daytime is less restful, you may feel fatigued before your next shift even starts. There are things that you can do to stay active when you are working night shifts and to get better sleep so that you can take care of your health.

Staying active while you are working the night shift

As a medical professional who works at night, you are likelier to experience problems with fatigue and drowsiness than are daytime workers. When you are at work, you can combat these problems by working in some exercise while you are on the job. Instead of taking an elevator, take the stairs. When there are lulls at work, take advantage of them by taking short walks in your wing or to the cafeteria.

If you eat in the cafeteria, make sure to select healthy foods. While it might be tempting to grab chips or other salty snacks, nutritious foods will give you more energy and strengthen your immune system. Choosing nutritious foods may also decrease the chances of gaining extra weight, which contributes to feelings of fatigue.

Staying active during the times between your night shifts

If you are like most medical professionals who work night shifts, you likely go directly to bed when you get home. To help to improve your sleep, try to block as much light from getting in as possible by using blackout curtains. You will also want to keep your bedroom free from disruptions. You may want to sleep with noise-canceling headphones so that other members of your family do not disturb you. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep to ensure you will feel well rested.

Though you may feel slightly fatigued, be sure to include exercise in your daily routine. Try to exercise at the same time each day so that it becomes a part of your normal routine. Exercising each day can help you to have more energy and will encourage wakefulness. When you return to work for your next night shift, you will be more alert and energetic if you exercise every day.

Medical professionals who work at night offer vital services to the public. People in your community depend on you to help them when they are ill or are injured. While you are helping to treat and to care for others’ needs, don’t forget your own. By paying attention to your health and staying active while you work the night shift, you can enjoy better health outcomes for yourself.