Night Shift Question/Advice/Tips

  1. 0
    Hello Everyone-

    I will be starting working night shift by choice in around 3 weeks; the reason for this is the extra money and I will be able to have open days to attend school.

    I thought I would ask some questions to those that have worked or currently do nights.

    1) How long have you been/were on nights and what did you find that helped you the most to have a "normal" life?

    2) What is/was your sleeping schedule like? Is the room completely dak? How many hrs of sleep do you find are sufficient for you?I know that most people in this floor are allowed to work the 2-3 shifts straight, which is great.

    3) Tips/Advice for the night shift person you wish you knew?

    Thanks and have a great weekend!
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  3. 16 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I have been a night shifter for more than 1/2 of my nursing career (4+ years so far). #1-When you go to bed, unplug/turn off your phones! I don't care what happens, it will be handled without me. You will need to do this because people just don't understand that noon translates to 2am for you. They will NEVER get that either. #2-When possible, stay on "night shift" even when off. Switching back and forth shaves years off your life. Though I know this, I do switch every week due to having a young child. #3-darken your bedroom with UV blocking curtains. (They work just fine for me.) If it's not dark enough for you, get black poster board and cover your windows. Keep your room temp on the cool side. You will sleep better.
    I sometimes go through sleep issue phases. During them I take melatonin. If that doesn't work, I take 1/2 a phenergan. I normally get 7 hours. I feel best with 7 straight but don't often get it.
    I go to bed between 830a and 9a and I set my alarm for 4p but rarely sleep that long.
    I hope this helps. I'm sure you'll be fine. I love night shift and I have no plans of switching to days.
    Ir15hd4nc3r_RN likes this.
  5. 1
    I rotate! 2 weeks days 2 weeks nights I know it probably sounds crazy, but I'm young and so far my body is putting up with the abuse. When I'm working nights I sometimes drape towels over my windows to block out the light, although I rarely have trouble falling asleep after my 12hr shifts and 45 min commute regardless of how bright it is. I like to sleep from 9am-4pm, although most of the time I wake up earlier. I always try to drink plenty of water overnight. Also I find it really helps to socialize with the other night staff because it can get pretty lonely when all your patients are either sleeping/cranky because you woke them up and you are on complete opposite schedules of most of your family and friends. In fact, I would say missing my boyfriend and family would be my biggest complaint about nights. Making friends with other night staffers is good because they know what you're going through! Good luck
    Fiona59 likes this.
  6. 0
    I work straight overnights, part time.

    What helps - before you go in for a shift, take a nap before or if you can't fall asleep, lie in bed and just breathe. Grab a coffee if you like that (I swear by a cup during report every shift). Stay hydrated, drinks tons of water too. I prefer snack-like meals so I can eat throughout the shift (yogurt, fruit, granola, PB sandwich, etc). I never crave a big meal during the night even if I've been working for five nights in a row. Keep busy - clean, stock, chart, sit with patients if they're awake and want to chat, etc. I usually have a 45 minute commute home - I have dark curtains. I usually sleep 8/8:30 to 3:30 or 4, sometimes go to the gym, come home and head to work again.
  7. 0
    I would try to work three days n a row...is get home and to bed by 9 am...wake at 4 pm...pick up my kido and eat. Dressed and out again to work by 645 pm. The last nt I work I would go to bed at 9 am and wake by 12...that way I can try and flip flop to a normal schedule.
  8. 1
    I rotate all 3 shifts so I'm constantly adjusting my sleep schedule. Lucky for me I can sleep anywhere any time. I normally get 7-9 hours of sleep before a night shift.

    My advice for nights would be to round round round on your patients. Get a small but powerful flash light and do breathing checks on the patients who you assume are asleep. Patients are much more prone to falling/coding on night shift. More tips would be to cluster care where appropriate and inform your patients if you have to wake them up in the night for vitals/meds etc ahead of time. Stay busy to avoid fatigue. Don't drink caffeine past a certain part of the morning or you won't fall asleep when you get home. Stay organized. Perform thorough chart checks.

    Just a few things I thought of off the top of my head
    Gold_SJ likes this.
  9. 0
    1. I did ft nights for a month and hated it. I couldn't adjust. 2. My sleep schedule sucked. No matter how much I slept I always felt groggy and In a fog. I gained weight became depressed. After I got off nights I felt so much better.3. My advice is to do a a search on allnurses . You will find so much advice. My favorite was written by ruby vee, night shift for newbies. Good luck
  10. 0
    I didn't mind 3rd shift, but I never got more than 4 hrs of sleep. I worked 12s so it was only 3 days a week. I didn't feel too fatigued so it worked.
  11. 0
    I abuse the crap out of my body. I flip between sleeping at day and night. I let how many days off I have dictate that. If I am working I will sleep 6 hours. That is where my body like it to be. 8 hours and I am just tired all night. My room is dark dark when it is just me there. My fiance likes the drapes open so the sunlight wakes her up a little before she goes to work. My room is cold too. It took my 3 years of night shift to learn this is what worked best for me.

    Oh and shut the phone off! I have a landline that only my parents know the number to. That way if it is a real emergency they can get in contact with me.

    One other thing, find what works for you to help you sleep. I have a stereo in my room that I play classical and movie scores on while I sleep. I find that noise helps me stay asleep better and longer.

    Of course your mileage may vary
  12. 0
    hey! ive been on nights for 2 years now and its been great.

    when i first started i used black out curtains and turned on my wall AC to provide white noise and block out all day time noise

    i used to sleep an entire 8 hours before my shift

    on my first night i make myself wake up very early, do errands then go back to bed about 1pm then sleep till 5.

    after 2 years its become a little more difficult, i still sleep w white noise. since i moved i no longer have black out curtains but still keep my room dark. the iphone has a white noise app which is amazing for day sleepers!

    i usually wake up at 2 now. in order to go back to sleep i eat something or fake some nyquil and sleep as much as i can. its important to regain ur sleep on ur days off.

    u'll learn different tricks. working out after work helps too! in the morning ur nice and fresh, do some errands or activity and u'll surely knock out once your home! gluck!!


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