How to Soldier Through a Week of Night-shifts

A women in bed with staring at an alarm clock

Jack Houldsworth veterinary-nurses, Veterinary Surgeon

As most Vet professionals know, a 9 to 5 regular shift pattern is practically unheard of. Occasionally, or even as part of your contract, you may have to work a week of strenuous night shifts. There are several things that should help you get through the week…

Keeping the Tank Topped Up

Whether it’s a Superfood salad or a juicy burger from one of the numerous fast food mega-chains; give your body what it needs to power you through the night. Yes, there are clearly lots of professionals who will tell you how many raw pieces of broccoli you need to eat for maximum energy, and that’s great if it’s your thing, but if it isn’t, don’t fret! You can afford to treat yourself to a few hearty, maybe not-so-healthy snacks just to see you through the night. Listen to your body, and throw calories to the window; keep the coffees on a conveyor belt!

Fix a Smile

It may sound cheesy, but a smile does go a long way. Feeling awake is a lot to do with your mindset. At the start of your shift, look at yourself in the mirror, and fix a smile to your face. It’s impossible to look tired if you smile; fact. Having a smile as your ‘go-to’ face will ensure that you at least portray an awake individual who isn’t feeling tired in the slightest…

Find your Pattern and Stick to it

Everyone’s different; sorry to hit you with another cliché. But it is true, what suits someone else might not suit you. Find out how much sleep your body needs to get you through the night. You might be one of these strange creatures who can nap stood up in the middle of a noisy room, however, if your sleeping capabilities aren’t quite as impressive you needn’t worry. If you can’t nap the answer is simple, turn nocturnal! You’ll be so tired from rushing around all night that as soon as you dim the lights and light a scented candle to accompany a bath, you’ll be out for the count.

Stay on Your Toes

When you feel a little woozy, and your eyes are starting to feel a little heavy, you need a bit of light entertainment. If you manage to get a rare break from the blocked cats and GDV’s, think about introducing some random games or little activities

you can do with your team to keep you all fresh. Keep it easy and fun for all, just something to keep your eyelids from dropping!

Night shifts can be grueling, but when you get used to the massive lifestyle change, it can have many perks. Once you get into a pattern, you can soon free up time through the day for all the important things in life like shopping! The obvious advantage for working nights is the healthy bonus on top of your usual pay! The last thing to remember is the importance of one thing; coffee!

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