How do I deal with rotating shifts?

sleepy-nurse
Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc | Photodisc | Getty Images

Nothing is harder than flip-flopping from days to nights. It messes up your circadian rhythm—and your life.

If you have a choice, ask for a day/PM rotation, rather than a day/night rotation. Day/PM is much easier on your body, simply because you always sleep at night—when it’s dark out and your body naturally craves sleep.

But if you absolutely must rotate between daylight and nighttime hours, begin getting ready a few days before the switch. Ideally, you’ll have a few days off between a stretch of days and a stretch of nights, so take advantage of that time by staying up a bit later each day; doing so will help your natural circadian rhythm adjust.

On the day of your first night, try to take an evening nap. If you can sleep, great. Those extra hours will come in handy later. If not, try not to worry about it. Stressing about the shift rotation only makes things worse.

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