tips for surviving night shift

My husband, Chris, and I have been together nearly 10 years. Way back when, we met while working at a restaurant close to the college that we both attended. I was the cute little waitress, he was the sous chef. It was a match made in heaven. Now, our lives have gone in very different directions. As much as my heart will always be in the restaurant industry, I knew it wasn’t apt for family life. Chris, on the other hand, dove into something more his speed. He became a cop. A sheriff’s deputy to be exact, with the local sheriff’s office. He’s been on the beat for close to 8 years. He had an amazing position with a special unit that allowed him to work the schedule that everyone envied, Monday through Thursday. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for my bad boy of a hubby. He wanted to get in with the action, so he went to night shift. The transition from day shift to night shift has not been an easy one for anyone, but we are slowly and surely adapting as a family.

surviving night shift

5 Tips For Surviving Night Shift

  1. Sleep: This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s actually harder than it sounds. Coming home at daybreak can completely mess with your circadian rhythm. The best thing to do is get any personal obligations like food shopping done on your way home, and unwind once you are home. Let yourself fall asleep naturally, using a sleep mask and earplugs. Set the mood in your bedroom with black out shades, and be sure your family obliges with your sleep schedule.
  2. Eat Real Food: Don’t snack on junk food all night. Junk food is just going to slow you down and make you feel terrible. Bring real food, have a real meal and snack on foods that will give you energy. Bananas, apples, nuts and granola are all great snacks to keep on hand.
  3. Have Plenty To Drink: Chris always starts his night with a cup of coffee, as a pick me up. Since his 4pm is actually his “morning,” caffeine that late is alright. He also always has plenty of water with him. Staying hydrated is key to avoiding systematic dehydration, which can make you feel completely rotten.
  4. Exercise: Physical fitness is imperative to keeping a healthy body. Since the night shift throws off your body’s normal circadian rhythm, your body is already under stress. Exercise keeps your cardiovascular system in peak shape, keeping you healthy.
  5. Stay Busy: When I ask Chris how he works long, overnight shifts, he has one rule. Stay as busy as possible. Since he’s a deputy, he doesn’t really have trouble staying busy. There isn’t much downtime. The average overnight worker might not have this luxury though. If there is downtime during a night shift, take a walk or find busy work to do. Clean, stock supplies or doing another task you wouldn’t normally do can help to keep you on your toes during periods of inactivity.

Coffee is a night shift must have for Chris. Each day as he gets ready for work, I turn the coffee pot on and brew him a fresh cup of Joe for the road. Because his job is so hectic, there is no telling if he will be able to drink it right away. It is important for him to have a cup that keeps his coffee hot for longer than average. We were recently introduced to Contigo West Loop travel mugs. These mugs are the #1 selling line of travel mugs, and now we know why! Chris no longer has to worry about his coffee sloshing all over his car when he punches the gas thanks to the leak-proof design. Since I am the one doing the dishes most of the time, I love how easy the lid is the clean. Sometimes travel cup lids can smell rancid, but not this one! I think you might love Contigo West Loop travel mugs just as much as I do! And you’ll love them even more when you save 20% off! Head over to their online store and use the Contigo discount code WESTLOOP20 by October 31, 2014 to save 20% off their already great price of $20.99 ! I have to say, I can’t wait to use them once our new baby arrives. I know I’ll need it! One lucky reader will win a set of Contigo West Loop travel mugs of their own, valued at $84, just by entering the form below!