New to night shift

  1. I was hired in postpartum for the night shift, 7:00 to 7:30. I have never worked night shift before and I'm trying to figure out when to sleep. Do you sleep during the day on the night you work then come home and go to sleep? Someone told me they go home and sleep for 4 hours after a shift then go to sleep at a regular time at night. I have a newborn at home. My husband and I talked about him dropping him at a sitter for 4-5 hours in the morning after I work. I think that will be fine but then when do I sleep before I go in?
  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   nursemary9

    Well, I've worked nite shift for a bit over 30 yrs----however, most of the time, I work 11PM to 0730. We do mostly 8 hr shifts now.
    In the past, I have done a few 12 hr shifts, mostly on weekend.

    Currently, I work 72 hrs every 2 weeks. I get home about 0800. I don't go to bed until about 3:30 or 4PM then sleep until 9:30. My DH is retired now, so we do all kind of stuff during the day.
    In years past, tho, I worked 80 hrs per 2 weeks; plus, I used to work Home Health after I got off duty at the Hospital. I did that for about 10 yrs & just stopped that about a year ago.

    When I did the 12 hr shifts, I was MUCH more tired then I am with 8 hrs. Possibly because I did not do it regularly. I don't know.
    However, after bilateral hip replacement surgeries, my hips rebelled & I really can't do more then a shift at a time. Oh, I suppose I could do more if I put my mind to it, but we have a choice of either 8 or 10 hrs where I work.

    We're really lucky.

    Now, I have not always had this pattern of sleeping; I have changed at intervals.
    When I am off, I don't go to sleep at all until that nite, so I sleep thru the nite with the rest of the family. Then, I go back to bed again at about 5 PM.

    For a time, I slept when I got home, but that just didn't work well for me.

    I will tell you, that I absolutely MUST have some sleep before I go to work.

    You'll find a pattern for yourself.
    We each have our own. I know it's more difficult with children.

    I hope you enjoy the nite shift; I think it's a great shift to work.
  4. by   gradRN2007
    I have worked nights for 12 years and just worked my first 12 hours shift at a new Rn job. I think when you work 12's you will need to sleep most of the day till 3-4 then get baby, dressed and go to work maybe
    I have always told my coworkers who worked nights and kept the baby at home its the quality of time not quanity when they wake up covered with black marker, one friends child ate her earring she used to sleep in the 1yr old "childproofed room" so the baby would be safe when she slept..
    I think 8 hour shifts would be easier on a new mom than 12 hours...unless you are just doing 1-2 a week and on the weekend when your husband can watch the baby..
    good luck, i always had to ctch a 2 hr nap before going in at 10:30p and wasn't able to have that nap yesterday...tiring but thats why we have coffee!
    good luck
  5. by   YooperNurse
    I found that while I was working nights I would never sleep more than 4 hours after going to bed when I got home at 8am. I found what worked best was to go back to bed in the evening and get a few hours before I went in.
  6. by   Dalzac
    I worked nights for around 30yrs. It was a preferred shift for me.11-7 for about half of that and then 7p-7a
    I would come homee do a little house work and go to bed around 9a-10a, sleep intill 4 or 5 and go to work at 7 but I didn't have a little one though.I had a babysitter when the kids were little. She would sleep at the house when I worked and came back after school and watch them for a few hours and was there when I went to work. I was a single parent though too.
    After they were all in school I slept when they were at school
    Needless to say all my kids are grown now and trained not to call mom before 6pm. or come over.
  7. by   bill4745
    I always took a two our nap before 7p-7a, otherwise, I was dangerous in the hospital and dangerous driving home in the am. I went to bed as soon as I got home in the am but rarely could sleep more than 4 to 4 1/2 hours. The second 12 hour night was a little tough - never did 3 in a row. I now do 11a-11p in ED and love it.
  8. by   luckylucyrn
    I don't have kids so I don't have an arrangement to share about that, but I find i still need 8 hrs of sleep always. I work Sun-Tue 7p-7a and I sleep from about 9am-5pm on Monday-Wed, and then get up and go to work. Then I flip flop to a day schedule by Thursday. Sunday I get up for church at 9 and then take a 2-3 hour nap before going in on Sundays.

    I worked with a nurse whose babysitter was a friend of hers, and she would sleep there until mid afternoon and then go home (she was breastfeeding).
  9. by   leosrain
    When I work days, I sleep 9pm to 5am...when I work nights, I sleep 9am to 5pm. It really works out well that way.
  10. by   RoxanRN
    Ambien and Lunesta are my friends (and lifesavers!!). I've never been able to sleep well... even at night.

    My schedule for when I work 2 or more nights (12 hour shifts) in a row... I try to nap for a few hours before going to work on night 1. I come home and try to be in bed by 0830 or 0900 (with a sleeping pill on board). I sleep til I wake up (usually around 1500-1600) and go back to work at 1900. After my last night at work, I generally sleep until ~1400, get up and spend time with the family and go to bed for the night (with a sleeping pill) between 2030 and 2200 and wake up around 0630 (when the 4 year old decides she must start her day!! ).

    Speaking of the 4 year old... after I come home in the morning, she goes to the sitter for the day. The 14 year old is in school during the day and knows to be quiet when she gets home.
  11. by   JoniL&DRN
    I work NOC's 18-0630 usually 3 in a row if I can get them that way. I like to have the four off. On my first day on I lay down about 1 or 2 and sleep hopefully until 3 or 4 (but usually more like 2 or 3). That next day I get home about 0700 and go to bed about 0830 (after getting kids off to school). Usually I sleep (with help of benadryl... that was the best discovery for me along with sleep mask and ear plugs) until 14 or 1430. That's about all I can do. Once I wake up and have to get up for any reason, I can't go back to sleep, so rather than fret over it I just get up and do some laundry or housework or watch some TV.

    I work with plenty of gals who need 8+ so they basically work-sleep-work-sleep-work-sleep. My last day on I usually come home and take a nap and then try to get out of the house for errands in the afternoon (otherwise I'd be on the sofa alll day)
  12. by   karenp2358
    Quote from gradRN2007

    I have always told my coworkers who worked nights and kept the baby at home its the quality of time not quanity when they wake up covered with black marker, one friends child ate her earring she used to sleep in the 1yr old "childproofed room" so the baby would be safe when she slept..
    I just have to say it is very irresponsible (and sad for the child, too) to sleep with a 1y/o awake and rambling around the house. I don't care how "child-proof" it is, they can find something to get into. As those moms found out, it sounds like!

    I worked 12hour nights. I usually could sleep an hour or two if I didn't have to go back in that night, but before work I had to sleep. Just had to, or I wasn't worth anything, lol. Anyway, you will find your own schedule, just takes some time. I agree with most everyone else, nightshifts are great!
    Last edit by karenp2358 on May 27, '07
  13. by   RN123456789
    I am also new to night shift on pp/nursery and find myself really hating it, I started out on occassional work force orienting on days and absolutely loved it, I love ob and love the hospital, I accepted a 24 hour night shift position and am having a hard time adjusting. I don't know what to do, should I stick it out and hope it gets better, do I speak to my NM and go back to prn only on days/eves, I don't want to just quit, I just don't know what to do, what if they don't allow me to go back to prn. I also do pediatric homecare and was offered another case w/one month old esrd, maybe I should just stick to homecare, I would like to do both. Any advice please?
  14. by   MonkeyRN
    Thanks for all of the advice I think for the first week I'm going to try and nap when the baby naps and see if we can get by without using a sitter. He'll be 4 months old when I start. I can also have my 12 year old keep an eye on him if I need a longer nap before I go in. I guess I'll just see how it goes!