night shift tips

  1. I am starting the night shift in a couple weeks. Can anyone recommend some earplugs, etc that I can buy online. Any other suggestions for sleeping during the day would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   bsnrnoh
    any ear plugs that are comfortable will work, check out your local pharmacy.


    get heavy drapes or black coating for your windows,
    start rotating your schedule now if you can to avoid fatigue your first week, and keep a steady sleep schedule even on your off days

    hope this helps
  4. by   Lanceman
    I worked nights for years but luckily I have always had no problem sleeping during the day. I actually almost prefer it. My aunt has worked at night as an RN for the last 4 years and had a hard time with it at first. I went to the auto parts store, bought some 5% AUTOMOBILE WINDOW TINT for her bedroom windows. It is not very difficult to apply if you practice a little but it would not be very expensive to get a professional window tinter to do it either. It made daytime look like night in her bedroom and solved a lot of her sleep issues as well. Hope this helps.

    Lance
  5. by   FNimuaeMae
    Tips to survive-

    1. Don't drink coffee after 2 or 3 am, as the caffeine stays with you for like 6 or 7 hours afterwards.

    2. Dark, heavy blackout shades for the windows.

    3. A nice satin sleep mask.

    3. White noise... a white noise machine/humidifer/fan/ air conditioner (in the right time of year.)

    4. TURN OFF THAT PHONE and put the answering machine in another room where you can't hear it. If someone is so desperate to get a hold of you, they can send the police to break into your house and wake you up.

    5. A consistant routine helps. Some people go to bed right when they get home from work and get up in the late afternoon, some stay up til a certain hour and then get up right before they need to go to work.

    6. Drugs- Perhaps not a good thing to get into, but when you need a little help, some people use tylenol PM... an old supervisor of mine had a script for ambien which she refilled every month. When I worked nites, I used to cut one of my flexeril tabs (for my back) in half, which helped when I was having problems getting to sleep. But like I said, its not a good habit to get into.

    7. If you have a family, they really need to truely UNDERSTAND that you need your sleep, so no waking you up for nonemergent causes. My brother never GOT this one through his thick skull for our mom who worked nite shift all our lives... Grrrrr! :hatparty:

    Missy
  6. by   Thunderwolf
    Oh, the sleep mask is very important!
  7. by   Maggie Mae
    I just started nights about a month ago. I work 12 hour shifts, I don't love nights, but I am a new grad and I do like my hospita. My problem is what to do on my days/ nights off. It is a daytime world. any ideas out there?
  8. by   TiffyRN
    Night shift worker here for 15 years (even when I was in nursing school). You have gotten excellent advice so far. I only have a couple of things to add.

    I prefer Mack's ear plugs that can be bought at most pharmacy/grocery stores. I can still hear my alarm through the ear plugs. Word of caution here. . . Don't insert them into the ear canal. It's all over the instructions, there are diagrams indicating how to and how not to use them but does that stop some of us? After two different episodes (oh no, I couldn't learn after the first time) of getting them broken off and stuck and having to have a doctor extract the bits (once had to go to an ENT) I finally learned to use them as indicated on the package. They really are great and safe, just follow package instructions!!!!!

    Don't keep your phone in your room. I used to turn my answering machine down all the way and turn the ringer off or all the way down while I was sleeping. If you have children and you're worried about being reached have a cell phone that only childcare givers/school has. Someone will always forget and call over something silly in the middle of your sleep.
  9. by   blue chips
    workig out at my gym and a good shower put me right to sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  10. by   starae
    What a timely thread! I'm switching to 12hr nights starting tomorrow for the first time in my life. I've been trying to turn my clock around for about 3 days and am having a difficult time with it. For me the problem isn't staying up until the wee hrs as much as it is not being able to sleep late in the day. It seems like no matter what time I go to bed I'm up by 11am. Never thought I would have this problem.

    I too would appreciate any advise on what people do on their off days. Other than the 24hr grocery store I feel like there is nothing to do besides watch TV. Thanks for the initial post and the replies so far. You are not alone in dealing with this right now!
  11. by   Roy Fokker
    I learnt these tips from working nights for the Computer and Library department here at school.

    Those "dark drapes" for the windows are essential. I can even sleep in bright light but for some insane reason, I can't sleep in diffused sunlight. I avoid ear plugs because I'm a bit afraid that I won't hear my alarm

    I usually come straight home and have a BIG meal. Followed by a glass or two of good beer/wine. Pops me right off to sleep.

    And yes, Cellphone is left in the hall

    As for what to do during days off? I started a hobby. I workout in the basement, build model replicas/miniatures of tanks, airplanes. Correspondence is kept up-to-date and I handle my finances/bills. It might help to find other nitgh shifters and do stuff together
  12. by   sayward
    Greetings . . . Something that I have found is that I prefer to 'sleep once and nap once.'
    Rather than sleep away much of the day I like to sleep until sometime after 1:00, & enjoy the day. Then, after supper I make lunch, lie down w. the alarm for a couple hours, & wake up w. a little time before 'gettin to it.' Also remember liking to have something good for lunch for that shift. Best.
  13. by   Mithrah
    I think the first 2 weeks are the toughest. Just bare with it and give it time. I found it easier than expected because I keep so busy at work and don't have much time to sit and think about my fatigue. When I get home I immediately go to bed and sleep for as long as my body wants. I get up usually around 3:30 to 5:00 giving me 7.5-9 hours each night.

    I have black sheets covering my window.

    I turn off all phones.

    During my off days I adjust to live a normal day life. Everyone I know at work does this. So don't think you have to totally live a night life because the fact is, is that your body is very adaptable.

    If I really feel I need help to get lots of sleep I will take diphenhydramine. Just follow the directions on the package.

    And do NOT drink caloric beverages to keep you awake. You'll gain unwanted weight.
  14. by   Dalzac
    I use a fan and turn off the phone. I have worked nights for 25 years and any one who values their sleep doesn't call me before 5 pm or they can count on a call from me to shoot the breeze around 2-3 am stops them every time

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