Daylight Saving Time and How it Affects Night Shift Nurses

Every year, there is a practice that sees us set clocks forward by an hour in most parts of the world. This practice is known as Daylight Saving Time and it holds between March and November. The main reason behind this practice is to save or conserve natural light as the days in spring and summer, as well as early fall, get darker later than usual.

Night shift nurses typically work between 7 pm and 7 am in most countries. The question that begs an answer is, “how does Daylight Saving Time affect night shift nurses?” Continue reading to find out.

How Daylight Saving Time Affects Night Shift Nurses

With the clock moving forward by an hour, it means that everyone would have to wake up one hour before our usual time. Truth be told when thinking about it as just one hour, it doesn’t seem like much. But the truth is that it can disrupt our schedules and body clocks, especially as nurses.

As a night shift nurse, you get to work all through the night typically. This means that you are not used to sleeping during the night. You may also think that the time switch shouldn’t affect you. Well, you might just be wrong. It does cause a slight imbalance in your circadian rhythm. In layman's terms, your body clock goes out of sync and you begin to feel tired at odd times.

Another issue that you might experience is sleep homeostasis. This is a desire that you have to sleep from when you wake up until it is your bedtime. You know that as a night shift nurse, both issues can cause you to be less productive at work. More importantly, they can result in broader health hazards, some of which include:

  • Slow metabolism.
  • Cluster headaches.
  • Depression.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Weight gain.
  • Injuries.
  • Cognitive issues.
  • Mental health challenges.
  • Immune and digestive-related diseases.

How Night Shift Nurses can Overcome the Effects of Daylight Saving Time

There are a few things that you can do to keep your body clock balanced to avoid the negative effects of Daylight Saving Time as a night shift nurse. Some of them include:

Maintain a healthy sleep routine

The importance of sleep to a nurse cannot be overemphasized. Already, you get to lose most of your night’s sleep as a night shift nurse. If you don’t take care, it could affect you in several ways, especially when the clocks move forward by an hour. You should adjust your sleep routine with the time change. Ensure that you still have between eight and nine hours of sleep daily.

Avoid sleep distractions

Avoid sleep distractions

There are several things that may want to distract you from sleeping when you should. Ensure that you do away with such distractions. Also, you should avoid consuming certain foods or drinks, especially caffeine, before going to bed. 

Exercise regularly

Engaging in daily exercise keeps you fit and helps you fight fatigue. It is no secret that fatigue reduces your reaction time drastically. Remember that you need to be alert and active during work periods. Exercising daily can help you achieve this.

Conclusion

Daylight Saving Time doesn’t have to be a nightmare for night shift nurses. This post has shown you some of the effects of DST on night shift nurses and how to deal with them. Share what you think with us in the comments. Kindly check out other helpful nursing resources on Natty Nurses.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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