How do I prep for night shift

  1. Hi there,

    I'm soon to graduate, and will be going to work for a Med-surg floor during the night shift. I've worked nights before, years ago, but now I tend to be an early morning person. Does anyone have sugestions on how I may prep for the night shift? (Stay up all night, go to bed at noon, etc...)

    Thanks!
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   GeminiTwinRN
    I'll be watching this thread! I, too, am starting my new grad position in Jan on NOC shift, so I am wondering how to prepare.

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   irish_std/n
    I usually stay up late the night before but not too late! then have a few hours sleep the day of...make sure you eat properly even if you body says its not hungry, you will only end up feeling sick if you dont eat right!
  5. by   gracie05
    I just started nights in October, and I have adjusted, for the most part, well. I usually stay up as late as I can (it has been 3 am) and sleeping as long as necessary (I usually set the alarm for 5 pm just in case). On most days I wake up about 1:30 or 2 pm. After I am up, I lounge around and relax until it is time to get ready for work. Make sure you eat as well as you can, and as regularly as you can...I have been having major GI issues because of the constant switch from nights to days (I revert to days on my days off). Also, drink plenty of water. When I am at work, I eat as healthily as I can (which is not always possible because sometimes there is no time to eat) and drink water. I do have coffee and diet pop, but I cut off caffeinated beverages by 4 am so i can go home and sleep. I hope this helps!! Good luck with nights! I have found that the people on nights (where I work) are awesome to work with and awesome teammates! (as compared to day shift). Again...Good luck and welcome to the club! :smilecoffeecup:
  6. by   ashley_michelle
    I usually don't do anything differently other than take a nap before I go to work. .. My husband works a regular day job.. so when I'm off I try to fall into his routine. =) Tonight is my first night back this week.. and I woke up with my husband.. and then I just took a nap from 2-330. I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is to stay awake.. We are always busy.. so there's no time to sit down and get tired! And then tomorrow I will sleep from the time I get home until 530pm... in enough time to get up and get ready to go to work again. On my last 12.. in order to go to sleep that same night.. I usually just take a nap.. and sleep no more than 4.5-5 hrs.

    It's worked pretty well so far. Sometime's I"m dragging on the day after my last 12.. but I'd rather sleep with him than be up all night! Every once in awhile I take a tylenol pm to just make me a little sleepier.

    I agree with trying to eat as regular as you can. I'm finding myself with the same GI problems... and my body not wanting to stay regulated. So drink plenty...and don't forget to eat! Just a week or so ago.. I had a few bad nights at work.. very busy and hardly any time to eat.. or no appetite to do so... and I weighed myself and was shocked that I'd lost 5lbs... And I don't really have that much to lose to begin with. So.. eat regularly even if you aren't hungry.. and try to stay healthy!
  7. by   nursekatie22
    Quote from khazel2002
    Hi there,

    I'm soon to graduate, and will be going to work for a Med-surg floor during the night shift. I've worked nights before, years ago, but now I tend to be an early morning person. Does anyone have sugestions on how I may prep for the night shift? (Stay up all night, go to bed at noon, etc...)

    Thanks!
    Wow! Can I switch lives with you for a few months!?? I'm orienting on days and the shifts start at 0600 so I have to get up at 0415ish to get there.....I'm NOT A MORNING PERSON!!
  8. by   hikernurse
    Long nap the day of work, then I shower right before I go in. That seems to wake me up. I don't like a lot of caffeine, but I grab a large Coke on my way in. I always eat dinner before my shift and bring something light for a snack in the middle--soup or pie (OK, pie's not light, but the hospital cafeteria makes fantastic pie).

    I have found that after working a couple of night shifts that I'm almost too tired to sleep that first night I'm off; then I end up taking Benadryl sometimes. Don't like doing that either, but it's better than not sleeping.

    Most nights are a lot busier than I thought they'd be, so I'm usually OK, but around 0300-0500 is the worst time. After that things start picking up and once I see that first day shifter come in . . . Halleluliah (can't even begin to spell that one)
  9. by   clemmm78
    I just woke up from my nap. My nights are 8 hours, so when I'm off I sleep my regular night before, nap after supper the night of, usually until 9 or 10, and then I leave for work around 10:45. Works for me.

    I'm not a huge caffeine person; it's never kept me awake so I may have a cup of coffee if I feel like it, or not. My favourite hot beverage of the month seems to be chai latte so I may stop at a coffee shop and get one on the way in, but there's no caffeine in it.

    As for sleeping during the nights I work, I used to sleep piecemeal, a few hours when I got home, up for a few hours and then back to sleep after supper. I changed that at the beginning of December and it seems to be working for me. Now I get home around 8 to 8:30 a.m., I stay up until about 1 pm or 2, then I sleep until 8 or or 9 pm. On the day after my last night (I work stretches of 2 or 4), I only nap a couple of hours during the day so that I can go to bed that night.
  10. by   AliRae
    I work days with rotation, so the majority of my time is on days, with the occasional night or 2 thrown in there. I like to go to church on Sundays, so I get them to schedule me for Sat. days and Sun. nights whenever possible. If I'm working a day then a night, I go to bed early, get up early, and then take a nap from about 2-4 before I have to go in for a night shift. If I'm working a couple nights in a row, I sleep in the basement during the day in between- it's dark as a tomb down there, so my body can pretend it's actually nighttime.

    For me, my body is totally used to working days, so I hit a wall around 4 am when I'm on nights. As silly as it sounds, popcorn has been my answer. I pop up a bag, get someone to watch my kids, and wander around the unit to deliver some to the other girls. It gives me the perfect time to stretch my legs, chat with people and have a little snack to keep me going until hope is renewed and the first day person walks through the door.
    Last edit by AliRae on Jan 2, '07 : Reason: i've forgotten how to spell
  11. by   Lorie P.
    i usually follow a routine like this, because i work 7 on/ 7 off. first day before i go to work on a monday night, i sleep from about 8:00 till 2:00. pick my 8yo up from school. take a nap from about 6-9. then for the rest of the week. i usually get home around 8 am, do a few chores till about 10 and then go to sleep. i usually will drink a cup of chamamille tea and put on a relaxation cd of waves and ocean sounds and drift off to sleep till about 5-6pm. i then get up, eat dinner with my family, lounge around and take a shower just before i leave home at 9:45, it is a 35 minute drive to work.
    i usually have no problems staying awake because there is always someone or something that needs taken care of.
    hope this helps, also i reverse my way of thinking:roll i think of going to sleep at 10 am like going to sleep at 10 pm and waking up about 5-6. it seems to help me that way.
    good luck!!
  12. by   incublissRN
    I just started working night 2 months ago but this is what is working for me. If I've been off for a few days and and am sleeping during the night then I usually stay up until midnight or so and take a nap from about 2-5 before I go into work that night. If I work 2 nights, off 1 night, and then work 1 night I stay on night schedule during the day off. After my last day if I want to join the rest of the world then I only sleep for 4-5 hours.

    Good luck!
  13. by   locolorenzo22
    My first night is Monday...the same week school starts. Then it's MTW 5p-530a, class on T at 11 till 4, work 5p-5a again, then SLEEP W, go in, class R afternoon 1-4:30, Fridays clinicals 7-3:30, Sat/sun 5p-5a 1 of 2 days. A lot of hours and of course my body clock will have to be adjusted on the first week of class! ARGGGHHHH!
  14. by   khazel2002
    I hope people keep posting more tips, but I just wanted to say "THANK YOU!!" for all your feedback. I just got married in August, and spending as much time with my husband (who works days Mon-Fri) is very important. :smilecoffeecup:
    I think I have a good idea as to how to make this work! Thanks again!

    -K

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