There are plenty of ways to work through the night shift that are as simple as fueling your body a certain way, staying active throughout your shift, and getting good-quality sleep! This sounds pretty obvious (and it is), so let’s get into the specifics…
Fuel your body right!
Fatty foods such as walnuts and avocados and salmon are great brain boosters and energy boosters as well. It’s smart to load up on nutrient-dense foods that are high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, or high in vitamins B and C which would include bananas, dark leafy greens, beans and lentils, and chia seeds. Whole grains or complex carbs are good to eat before your shift because they release energy overtime and will give you lasting energy throughout the night. Fill up before your shift, but also bring small snacks to munch on every few hours to keep you refreshed, full, and energized! And hydrate! Always hydrate.
**Side note: Caffeine may seem like a logical idea when trying to stay awake and energized, but it may also come with not-so-great side effects. If you feel good about caffeine and it works for you, then maybe just cut it off about halfway through your shift so it doesn’t affect your sleep when you get home. It also may help to stay away from sugar and refined foods because often those foods come with an energy crash (and really aren’t that healthy anyway).
Keep your brain working!
Staying active is a great way to trick your brain into feeling awake. It will also make your shift more productive and lively. Talk to your co-workers. You can all help each other stay active through conversation or doing a task together. If you have some down time (which you may during a night shift) then fill that time with a small activity such as sudoku or reading a book or anything that seems exciting to you that requires a bit of brain power.
Get quality sleep!
Our bodies get signaled to feel awake and tired based off of light and darkness. After being up all night, it’s very important to get great sleep during the day. If it’s light outside on your way home, wear sunglasses to help minimize the effects of light on your brain. It also may be smart to invest in blackout curtains for your bedroom so that no light seeps in when you’re trying to sleep. Do whatever you can to decrease (or rid of) light during the day when you’re about to sleep and while you’re sleeping. Darkness triggers the production of melatonin which is essential for good, quality sleep. Good sleep will keep your immunity up, your mood up, and will make it easier to stay alert during your night shifts.