MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT

22:49

Lots of people always ask: "How on earth do you cope with night shifts when you have a toddler?"
And right before I started my job, I remember Googling the best tips in coping with it all. I like to think I'm a seasoned champ at keeping eyes wide sans match sticks and thought I'd share my best suggestions/things I have one hundred percent needed and/or have died without.

If it's your very first night shift, ever, be prepared to feel like your body is slowly giving up on you.

I vividly remember through my supernumerary two weeks (the period of training where you are orientated by another member of staff) begging to be put to sleep. Your body shivers and shakes, changes temperature like an English Summer day and your stomach will suddenly become a redundant organ. No food in, but most possible, lots of food out.... That is normal, it's almost like jet lag but torturous because you obviously cannot close your eyes! It eventually goes away and your body adjusts much quicker the more shifts you do. Well, at least mine has anyway..

Get the best sleep you can the night before your shift.

That seems particularly thick to suggest a lot of sleep before no sleep but it's like the first amendment when it comes to coping. You need to sleep as late as you can in the morning and if you have flexible childcare or your little one has regular naps, use it and abuse it people. I don't often do this but a couple of hours sleep before your shift can be a real top up to the system. Imagine those wintery evenings when you fall asleep on the couch then head to bed and lay awake until 3am? This is the time when it all comes in handy!



Snacks and fluids are essential.

It really sucks big time for the waistline if you eat all day and then all night but food (as we already know.. trying to avoid a 'suck eggs' convo) gives the body energy. Lots of the ol' H2O and healthy bites that you can eat quickly while on the go really help to sustain some normalcy at 4am. If I'm on a few nights, I will adjust my meal times to suit my shift patterns. Dinner at 8am and breakfast at 6pm. It's enough to make you vomit right? But waking up to Chilli Con Carne when you've been snoozing all day plays on the gag reflex a little more than I'd like to disclose.

Supportive partners/friends/family are almost a necessity.

My husband is known as the 'Narcoleptic' amongst our nearest and dearest. He once fell asleep on a speaker in a local night club. If anyone appreciates how important it is to sleep it's him and he constantly reminds me how amazing I am for working through the night. I'm not amazing at all, lots of people do it without batting an eyelid but I'm sure as hell not going to tell him that. I get a few lie-ins after my shifts have ended and he hangs around at home as long as possible to give me as much rest as he can. I'm so grateful for that and it really helps when adjusting back to Mummy. My parents are my permanent childcare too and have him whenever I need them too, and my best friend will often offer to have Theo for dinner the day my shifts start to give me some time to myself before work. I'm very very blessed to have this support, and if that means you have to rope the local babysitter in or bribe your boyfriends/partners/friends/Tesco cashier, it's worth doing.

No booze or ya snooze.

Need I say more? The night before a night, lay off the vino. Post drinking tiredness is way worse at night.. duh!?

I've harped on about it enough but I really do love my nights. All be it less sleep, it means more time with my bubs and that is the one thing I care about. If you do nights, when and where? How do they fit into your family life?









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