Sleeping for Night Shift

  1. I've been a RN for just over 1 year now, and I'm still having a lot of trouble sleeping during the day when I'm on the night shift (1900-0700hrs). At best, I'll be asleep by 0800, but fully awake by 1030. The rest of the afternoon is spent dozing, but not really sleeping. I just can't seem to stay alseep!! I don't drink anything with caffeine, I work out regularly at a gym, and I eat a fairly well balanced diet. Any suggestions!!! Please!! I'm tired of being tired.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Yes, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your sleep quality. First, make your bedroom as dark and as quiet as possible.......if you don't already have them, get dark colored drapes (the heavy kind that block out light) and a sleep mask. I used fans to create white noise and keep the bedroom cool, which is another big help (who can sleep well in a hot room?). Turn the phone off, or put it in another room and let your answering machine or voice mail take messages. Another good idea is to take a hot shower or bath when you get home, it helps you relax, and as you cool down your body sends signals that it's time to sleep.

    Also, try not to eat a big meal just before going to bed.....a light snack is good, but you don't want a lot of food sitting in your stomach when you're trying to go to sleep. And give yourself time to wind down after your shift...if you're in bed at 8 AM and waking up a couple of hours later, you're not giving your body enough time to off-load the stresses of the shift. (Think of it this way: how many 9-to-5 workers go to bed at 7 PM?) Try going to bed a little later, say 9 or 9:30, and sleep till at least 4 PM if you can.

    Hope this helps.
  4. by   ERNurse752
  5. by   KarenAR
    Lalage, I'm so glad you started this thread. I am about to start working nights and was wondering about helpful tips for this! One thing I plan to do is to turn the ringer off on my phone, but keep my cell phone on and give that number to my children's schools for emergencies so that I'm still reachable if needed - but I won't give that number to anyone else. (Those who already have the number have been instructed to not call during the day!)

    The ENW site and mjlrn's tips are both great...anyone have any more tips?
  6. by   KarenAR
    What do you all know about melatonin? Is it safe/good/etc.? Or no? I haven't read up on it yet...just heard it mentioned once as good for jet lag and sleep cycle stuff...
  7. by   MandyInMS
    When I first started nights I couldn't sleep more than a couple of hours during the day...after more than a month I was "whooped"...Tylenol PM helped me get into a day sleep routine..I'd take it soon as I got home in the morning,sleep all day, and wake up feeling rested and halfway 'normal'..only took a couple of weeks for my body to get used to day sleep and don't have to take anything to rest during the day now.....my problem is OFF nights...no matter what I do I'm up half the night..lol.
  8. by   nursesearl
    I WORE EAR PLUGS. EVERY LITTLE NOISE USED TO WAKE ME UP UNTIL I GOT EAR PLUGS.
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Usually i'm so stinkin tired when i get home that i eat a piece of toast and collapse at 7:30am. I have to be back up at 2pm to get ready for work at 4pm, to work till 8 pm, them back at work at 11pm.

    Sleep's rarely a problem unless it's my days off. Wait till school starts. I'll be loads of fun to hang out with then.
  10. by   ladytraviler
    HI. Keep the same schedule no matter what. darken your room. fans help. you can be rested and work nights, you just have to stick to it. i go to bed at 1000 and sleep till 1630 - 1700 then get up. my family is used to this schedule and help me stick with it. every one is happy and i enjoy our family time even more. i do my house work while they sleep. it takes some getting used to but can be fun.
  11. by   jayne109
    I have a 30 min drive home that helps me to wind down and sometimes, when I am not tired yet, I do take meletonin. It is great and helps me get into a deeper sleep. If you can stand it, sleep with quiet classical music. I personally sleep witha police scanner. It help me to forget the noise of cars and everyday life. Find something that works and sstick to it.
    Melissa
  12. by   KailuaNurse
    The black out curtains and white noise help alot! I have never tried melatonin, but at times when I can't seem to get to sleep I will take some benedryl (although it seemed I mostly took that at night when I was trying to get back to a normal day schedule).
  13. by   Nightcrawler
    Melatonin does work well. I have repeated bouts of insomnia and have used melatonin on and off for the last four years. The advantages are that it works fast, (don't take it until you are ready to sleep because it kicks in at about the 15-20 minute mark), you also don't have problems with being drowsy when you are supposed to be awake, and I haven't had any problems with developing a tolerance unlike many prescription sleep aids.

    I used to take it every night, but then I found that if I take it for a week whenever I develop a problem, that it helps re-establish my own sleep schedule

    Good Luck, sleep well

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