Overnights... how do you handle them???

  1. Good morning. I am scheduled to work roughly four nights a month on my nursing unit. I have worked ONE overnight shift in the past and did just fine UNTIL about 6 AM and then the bottom FELL OUT. I felt light headed and 'swimmy'. They let me leave early and gave me some OJ and crackers to eat. I did eat that night around 3 AM so it was not like I did not eat.

    Fastforward, I am on a new unit and the shift is rotating... so have to pull some nights. Got one coming up. HOW DO YOU ALL DO IT?? I am somewhat worried I will have that 'spell' again and feel awful. I do not do caffeine nor energy drinks.

    Any suggestions?? THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
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    About Epona

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 796; Likes: 142
    Nursing student


  3. by   Elladora
    When I work thirds, we eat supper between 2:00 and 3:00 am then snack again around 5:00.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    I do very well with night shifts because I am naturally a nocturnal person who can stay up all night without much intervention or prompting.

    It helps if you maintain a late schedule on your days off, because constantly making the switch from days to nights will wreak havoc on your natural circadian rhythms. Also, eat small meals and snacks throughout the shift while working nights, because one large meal can make a person drowsy. Lightly caffeinated beverages such as tea and diet colas also help me greatly.
  5. by   meluvsquki
    Make sure you snack as you go and take a nap during your break... Idk how Id do it without caffeine.
  6. by   Do-over
    Nocturnal here. I've never had any trouble.

    Now, getting up and getting alert for dayshift is a whole other issue...

    Seriously - I do drink a lot of caffeine, but I always do - day or night. If I do get sleepy, it tends to be around 3-5, because there is usually less going on. So, if I don't have anything to do I find something to do - stock, clean, help aide with baths, etc. After 5 the lab draws, meds, etc all start so the activity keeps me alert until its time to report off.
  7. by   Queen2u
    This is all good advice guys. Great to see nurses helping one another out =O). I too keep a mostly night schedule at home. It is 0430 and I am up watching The First 48, LOL.
  8. by   Miiki
    Im sure to always take a several hour nap before, and wake up about an hour to 30 min before your shift. Usually I have to stay up late the night before to be able to take the nap. With that 'nap' and a cup of coffee, I usually feel just fine during my (non-nursing) night shifts.
  9. by   xoemmylouox
    My best advice is to keep busy.
  10. by   That Guy
    Take a nap. Your patients are all asleep anyways.
  11. by   Elladora
    Quote from That Guy
    Take a nap. Your patients are all asleep anyways.
    I really hope that's sarcasm...
  12. by   That Guy
    Quote from Elladora
    I really hope that's sarcasm...
    Nope, dead serious...
  13. by   BNRN89
    Drink lots of water and have a snack with lots of protein at 3AM. I also have a good breakfast prior to sleeping in the AM after work. That way I can sleep till 4pm and not have to get up at noon to have something to eat! Good Luck! It gets easier!
  14. by   Piglet08
    Wow, an occasional all-nighter? Give me all days, or all nights, please. Don't mix 'em. Good luck with that. I have no advice to offer except, sleep when you can and lift with your legs.