Night shift

  1. I started a new job, and this was my first week on nights. Last night was my Friday (YAY!). I'm just orienting and trying to make my way through night shifts...I really am a night person, so I think it will work for me, but this first week was killing me!!! As far as the job, I love it! Good unit/coworkers/precepter, everyone helps everyone, so Great!!! I'm just having trouble adjusting...not to the unit, but the shift. Even with plenty of sleep (I get home from work and basically pass out, 9-5), I still find myself having trouble with nights...I know it will be an adjustment and I will get used to it, just looking for support, I guess! What are your strategies/norms for working nights? I think I am fine except for the 1st shift (sure, I can sleep just fine after a 12+ shift, but not the day before) Thanks!
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    About yooper13

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 56; Likes: 49


  3. by   obizyanka
    Is your shift 12 or 8 hours? I work 8s night right now. I go to sleep as soon as i get home, around 8am then i lseep till about 2 or 3pm. 6-7 hrs of sleep. Some times i take a nap at night 8-10 if im exhauseted, other times i just chill and watch a movie in that time period....
  4. by   tigralvovna
    My preceptorship was nights, 12 hr shifts. I took a hot shower as soon as I got home and used a dark eye mask, which molds around your eyes and nose, when I slept. It really helped fooling the body into thinking it was night time. It takes a while to adjust but you'll get the hang of it. good luck!
  5. by   Inori
    you need blackout shades/curtains such that it is opaque, black and well doesnt' let in any light, turn off phone, let family know to not call interrupt unless its life or death. Use immediate family to screen all calls... "Mommy's sleeping" who's calling and can i take a message. And make a habit of not going around doing stuff during day until after you get sleep. Keep the same schedule on off days too because body okies good luck
  6. by   julz68
    I've been working the 7p to 7a shift as a CNA for years and absolutely love it! I'm a new grad 3 weeks into my new position and my orientation started off on days which is really kicking my butt right now. One more week of days then I'm back to my beloved night shift.
    The night before my first shift of the week, I try to stay up as late as possible so I can sleep at least 5-6 hours before I head to work. It sucks if you sleep the night before, because then you're up all day AND all night!
    One thing about night shift is that in my experience, your coworkers are like a second family. There seems to be more teamwork as well. Also, one of the great benefits is that we get paid more! I will probably stay a night shifter the rest of my career. I am definitely NOT a morning person.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    There's lots of information on allnurses about adjusting to night shift. Read my article "Night Shift For Newbies," and you'll get some good ideas. Boiled down to the nitty gritty: value your sleep and your sleeping time. Use a fan for white noise, black-out shades and threaten friends/family with the 2 AM phone call to see how they're doing if they don't let you sleep. Make sure you eat a meal during the night. Hydrate, don't over-caffinate. And good luck!
  8. by   turnforthenurse
    I work 12 hour nights, I always do three in a row and then end up with 3-4 days off.

    The night before (for my first shift), I stay up as late as I can (usually until 0515, my husband doesn't like it when I come to bed earlier than that because he is usually trying to sleep and needs to get as much sleep as possible before PT!). I take a sleep aid - either Benadryl or melatonin. I don't have room darkening curtains but those are a good thing to have. Instead, I use an eye mask to help block out the light. I keep the fan on for some white noise and to help keep my sleeping environment cool. I turn off my phone and make sure to tell everyone when I am sleeping to minimize interruptions. Make sleeping a priority! I sleep from around 0545-0600 (depending on how soon I can fall asleep) until around 1530, then I make a huge cup of coffee and jump in the shower.

    After I get home from work, I take a hot shower. I don't take much time to unwind, I try to get to sleep as soon as possible. I'm usually in bed by 0800. Sleep again until 1530 (or even 1600).

    There will be days where you just won't be able to sleep well. I live in an apartment complex and sometimes the landscapers will come by with the leaf blower at 1000 or the neighbor's dogs will be barking...or there are the elephants upstairs/on the roof but for the most part you should be able to establish a routine and do whatever works for you.
  9. by   dt70
    Took me 7 months. Hearing laundry going, lawn mowers , garage doors opening and closing, boats driving to the bay.
    Worked grave shift X5 days. (not a nurse)
  10. by   marycarney
    Another important strategy is to wear sunglasses on the ride home. Sunlight falling on the retina depresses the secretion of melatonin. So, looking at the sun on your way home tells your brain to wake up.

    White noise (a fan turned to the wall works well).

    Room as DARK as you can make it I have mini-blinds, two layers of black curtains, a black sheet wadded up and place on top of my curtain rod( to block light above it) and wadded up on the floor (to block light below it) AND two spring-tension rods placed up-and-down to tuck the curtains behind (to block light coming in the sides).Any little sliver of sunlight coming in can disrupt your sleep.

    Turn your LCD clock away from you. Leave the cell in another room. If you have children and the school being able to reach you in an emergency is a concern, buy a cheap, pre-paid cell and give THAT number to the school for emergencies. THAT phone you can sleep with - no one else gets the number.

    I've done nights for decades, and circadian disruption was the topic of my MSN thesis.

    PS: ALL the cool people work nights!
  11. by   julz68
    Quote from marycarney
    PS: ALL the cool people work nights!
  12. by   Bringonthenight
    PS: ALL the cool people work nights! [/QUOTE]

    Preach it
  13. by   bebbercorn
    Try not to overload on caffeine or eat heavy meals, I found that when I ate a carb loaded meal (like pasta, or beans and rice, whatever) I felt the food coma coming.
  14. by   joanna73
    I've been on permanent nights for almost 3 years. Like you, OP, I am a night owl but night shift is an adjustment. It takes approximately 2-3 months to fully adjust.

    I stay on a night time schedule on my days off. Flipping is much harder on your system. I can be up by 1300 if I need to be. I eat balanced meals and aim for 7 hours of sleep minimum. On days off, I can sleep 9-10 hours sometimes.

    Blackout curtains, ear plugs and shutting off my phone are essential for sleep. I also take gravol or benadryl with valerian root tablets to help me sleep.