Fatigue and Safety
Sleep and fatigue management are important factors for shift-worker health and safety. Fatigue can affect decision making, reasoning, creative thinking, judgment and memory. It can affect your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Try these tips for managing fatigue on the night shift to keep yourself alert and safe during your shift and on the trip home:
- Increase water intake to maintain alertness.
- Avoid caffeine for at least four hours before your planned sleep time.
- Physical movement changes energy level, change position at least every 30 minutes.
- Interact with others-interpersonal interaction tends to rejuvenate people who feel tired.
- Laugh-laughter energizes and dissipates tired feelings (of course be mindful of sleeping patients and residents)
- Eat light and less on the night shift - 10 nutrition tips for shift workers
- Bring extra clothes to work for the 3 am - 6 am reduction in body temperature, so you are comfortable throughout your shift.
- If you are going to nap during the night, set an alarm to keep it to 20 - 30 minutes. Longer naps can make sleep difficult when you get home and a 60-90 minute nap can be more difficult to wake up from since you will have been in a deeper sleep.
- Research has shown that wearing dark glasses on your commute home from a night shift (even if it is cloudy) can help you sleep when you get home because you are blocking daylight and the effect this has on your circadian rhythm.
PHC fatigue policy - Reducing consecutive shifts, to minimize fatigue, errors and injuries
Shifting to wellness in healthcare - Booklet providing strategies and suggestions for shift workers in healthcare
The information contained in this toolkit is provided for general information only.
It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician or appropriate health-care provider with respect to your particular circumstances.