Working night shifts has been associated with various negative effects, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, and workplace errors. Why is shift work a problem? Well, apparently shift work causes circadian rhythms to misalign with the demands of the environment.
So, what can we do to ensure our caregivers are rested and awake to provide quality care to our residents? According to a study led by McGill University, nurses exposed to 40 minutes of bright light before their night shifts felt less fatigue, made fewer errors, AND slept better after their shifts! However, the study also required participants to avoid bright morning light which can be difficult when you are driving home after your shift at 7:30 in the morning! Thus, implementing this could be difficult but still worthy of a look!
There is also a website called “Night Shift Owl” that was developed based on research at McGill and Harvard University. The site gives evidence-based strategies to reduce fatigue and improve work performance for night shift workers. The site includes “fatigue-reduction plans,” strategies to reduce fatigue, workshops, etc. Maybe promoting resources like this and making them available to your team might assist in improving their quality of life and the care provided to your residents! Stay well and stay informed!