How Does Night Shift Nurses Adjust Their Sleeping Pattern

  1. I haven't worked nights at all but the position I 've been waiting for in our hospital has only vacancy for night shift. I wonder how will I adjust my sleeping pattern if I have my days off. I still want to go on with my daily routine stuffs and enjoy sunlight on my days off. Do you think I could still do that?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   rncopper
    Hi! I have always worked nights (I actually am a night owl) but don't want to miss out on things just 'cause I am sleeping! So....

    The night before I work, I stay up most of the night then sleep all day before I go to work. (Some just sleep that night, get up, and then take a nap before work. That never worked for me; I need at least 7-8 hours of sleep at a time!) On my last day of work, I usually stay up after I get home, do all my "junk" - banking, grocery, etc. - and try to be like "normal" :chuckle people. Then I sleep that night.

    It is hard to be a "day" person when you only have 1 day off in between working, though. That is why I like to work many days in a row!

    I really think it is possible to work nights and STILL have a day life! You just need to figure out what works best for you!
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I have worked nights for 10 years. Always three 12 hour shifts in a row! No one off, one on - that kills you. The first night shift I work, I take a four hour nap. Then on the next two mornings, I come home, read for 15 minutes and I'm out! The last morning I come home, sleep for 5-6 hours and then stay up till 11 or so and then I'm a day person again! I guard my sleep. I turn the phone off and my friends know don't call me until after 4 pm. My kids are now grown, but when they were at home, they too understood that Mom sleeps during the day.
  5. by   Rena RN 2003
    Originally posted by traumaRUs
    I have worked nights for 10 years. Always three 12 hour shifts in a row! No one off, one on - that kills you. The first night shift I work, I take a four hour nap. Then on the next two mornings, I come home, read for 15 minutes and I'm out! The last morning I come home, sleep for 5-6 hours and then stay up till 11 or so and then I'm a day person again! I guard my sleep. I turn the phone off and my friends know don't call me until after 4 pm. My kids are now grown, but when they were at home, they too understood that Mom sleeps during the day.



    yeah, what she said. :chuckle
  6. by   legsmalone
    My Mom and I both work nights, and she is a nap person, I am like you copper, I stay up the night before and sleep straight until I get up to go to work.
    But on our days off, we both do the same thing, come home, jump in bed for a little nap, and then get up and do like all the "normal" day people.
    And I totally agree on working three straight, The one on, one off routine wears me out so much more. Good luck Inna!
  7. by   Tweety
    People do a variety of things.

    I'm like rncopper and I need a lot of sleep before a 12 hour night shift. So I'm up much of the night before a shift and sleep all day.

    Usually I'm not a "normal day person" on my days off either. I'll get up if I have something to do, but tend to sleep all day and be up at night on my days off, with a lot of naps here and there. I'll go to the gym, grocery shopping and Walmart, etc. at 2AM if I need to get things done.
  8. by   HannasMom
    I'm new at night shift also. I am a day person, but the facility (LTC) I applied to only had a night shift position also. I'm having a hard time adjusting to nights, I have been grumpy and close to tears at home, before the shift. I like this LTC, and the night shift pay, so I really want to give this a try, without the bad moods. I asked for some advice from a nurse at our LTC who has worked nights there for 14 years. She told me what she did to adjust. She comes home from work and eats a normal breakfast and watches TV or reads before she goes to bed, until she is sleepy. Then she wakes up around 12 or 1 p.m. and tinkers around the house, whatever. She said she continues her "fast", since the normal person doesn't eat while sleeping, until 5:00. She just has coffee with cream and sugar, and maybe a lite snack. The body has to have a fasting time, so you don't have stomach problems. At 5:00 she eats dinner with her husband. Then takes a nap from around 6:00 until 9:00. Gets up and gets ready for work. Also she advises to eat a real meal on night shift around 2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. On her days off she sleeps until noon and skips the evening nap. and sleeps like regular people that night. On the night she goes back to work she takes the evening nap. I plan to try her advise this week, I go back to work tonight, after only one day off...ugh! I hope it works, if it doesn't, I'll start looking for a day job.
  9. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Because of my family situation, I only work two 12 hour nights at a time. On my days off I have to be up at 0630 to get my handicapped son off to his day program, so I have to make a rapid turnaround, which just isn't possible after three or more shifts. I'm not a napper, never have been. I stay in bed if my husband is home to get Adam up, and sleep till noon before my first night. Otherwise, I try not to get too wound up while getting Adam out the door, take some 5HTP and go back to bed until noon or so. I eat breakfast when I get home in the morning, read a bit of the paper and hit the sheets by about 0900. I sleep until 1630, get up and eat supper, read the rest of the paper and go to work. I don't eat real meals when I work nights, preferring to eat a healthy snack on each of my breaks. After my second night, knowing I don't go back for a few days, I sleep until noon, get up feeling like death warmed over and drag myself through a couple of hours of television. Then I feel more normal and get back into my day routine. I go to bed around 2300 and sleep all night.

    Everyone has to find their own best practice. This is what works for me.
  10. by   bewbew
    I will go to sleep after a shift about an hour after I get home in the morning, then I will sleep 'til about 5.30, or 6pm, then get up and spend some (limited) time with the family! On the first day off, I do what rncopper does, do all my 'junk', then try to stay up until that night, for a night time sleep!
  11. by   mother/babyRN
    I have not ever figured it out and it is probably killing me..Definitely not something anyone should do who has a choice to otherwise..I sometimes am up until 3 pm then sleep a bit and go in very tired and then come home to the kids and real world and can't sleep....
  12. by   nialloh
    I used to work nights for aprox 4 years. The best advice I was given was to get some sleep (3 - 4 hours) when I got home from work. I should then get a 2 - 3 hour nap before work. On your day off, Work your sleep hours so you can get uninterrupted sleep that night. You need this real sleep to catch up.
    What I got from this is, now I work 3 to 11, Im can sleep, any time, day or night, Light or Dark.

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