New To Night Shift

  1. Greetings Folks -

    I graduate in Dec and accepted a position .9 FTE in a local step down unit doing 7p - 7a with only 1 weekend every 6:spin::spin::spin::spin::spin::spin:

    Anyone have suggestions as far as how to adjust to doing the night shift 3x/week? Management states that they try to get their night shifts in a straight order (ie: MTW, TWR, etc...), but that at times that dosen't happen.

    What's the best way to keep my sanity with working at 7p one night, but not the next???

    Will I just be living off of powernaps? (not at work of course)

    Thanks Much
  2. Visit XYicuRN2B profile page

    About XYicuRN2B

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 6

    8 Comments

  3. by   Valanda
    I've been working graveyard shifts since 1989 and I love it. I recieved some wonderful advice from a 60 year old night shift nurse who oriented me early in my career. "If you are going to work nights, you have to stay on your night shift routine all the time. On your nights off STAY UP!!! It's not healthy to switch back and forth all the time between being a day sleeper and being a night sleeper. If you get your circadian rhythms all messed up you'll always feel tired and you will burn out quick."

    I tried for awhile to go to sleep as soon as I got home in the mornings (as many of my night shift co-workers do), but I found this frustrating and nearly impossible. Most people stay up for at least 2 or 3 hours after getting home from work -- I found this works great for me too. I sleep from noon to 8pm each day. It leaves me plenty of time for dr's appointments and such. Any meetings I have I just schedule as early in the morning as possible. This has also eliminated the 3am crash that many of my co-workers seem to go through. I really enjoy my quiet time at night on my nights off.
    Last edit by Valanda on Nov 7, '06
  4. by   EricJRN
    Thanks for the input, Valanda. As someone who may switch to nights before long, I've been looking for more opinions on completely switching your routine vs adjusting only on nights you work.
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]there are a lot of great things about night shift. different pace, fewer people around (visitors, doctors, management!) and you don't get stuck in that rush hour traffic!

    get plenty of sleep. your sleep is sacred and should be treated that way -- by you, by your manager, by your family. unfortunately, you're the one who is going to have to enforce that. don't take phone calls during your sleeping hours. unplug the phone, turn down the answering machine, whatever. if you must, have an emergency pager or cell phone that is to be used only if your child is hit by a truck, your parent has a heart attack or your hospital is demolished by a terrorist attack. use "black out" curtains, or a sleep mask, an industrial-strength fan or earplugs -- whatever you need to be able to sleep through the day. if your husband calls you at 1 pm to ask you how your day is going, return the favor at 1 am. he'll get it. eventually!

    stay on a night schedule as much as possible. i tend to sleep 0800 to 1600 when i'm working, and 0400 to 1200 when i'm not, but i don't try to turn myself all the way around. it's a good way to mess up your circadian rhythms and guaranteed to make you miserable.

    eat well. bring a real meal into work for your lunch unless you're lucky enough to work in a hospital that has a cafeteria open at night. don't try to subsist on snacks.

    exercise. you'll feel better, look better, sleep better.

    enjoy your night differential!

    good luck -- i hope these tips have helped somewhat.

  6. by   santhony44
    Quote from ruby vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]
    get plenty of sleep. your sleep is sacred and should be treated that way -- by you, by your manager, by your family. unfortunately, you're the one who is going to have to enforce that. don't take phone calls during your sleeping hours. unplug the phone, turn down the answering machine, whatever. if you must, have an emergency pager or cell phone that is to be used only if your child is hit by a truck, your parent has a heart attack or your hospital is demolished by a terrorist attack. use "black out" curtains, or a sleep mask, an industrial-strength fan or earplugs -- whatever you need to be able to sleep through the day. if your husband calls you at 1 pm to ask you how your day is going, return the favor at 1 am. he'll get it. eventually!

    :yeahthat:

    all the advice you have so far is good but this about your sleep is especially important.

    it's been 10 years since i worked nights but i could go back to them tomorrow!!

    i insisted on my sleep though. i used the earplugs, with a tape of ocean waves playing continuously, loudly enough i could just hear it through the plugs. no other outside noises got through. my phones were off, in case of dire emergency my husband could come home and wake me up (never happened). i also kept the room dark and cool.


    a lot of people have no concept of what working nights means. you have to get your point across; if someone gets offended that's their problem. (my sil seemed to think that doing her dishes after supper was "working at night." she got to bed before i ever left for work!!) i left a great big note on the door: night worker, do not disturb!

    i'm still a night owl at heart!

    good luck to you in your new position!
  7. by   HappyNurse2005
    If you have young children, that whole staying up on your days off thing wont work really well.

    I do switch back and forth. when i come home and am planning on working the next night, i sleep 0845-1530, then a nap from 1745-1800.

    if i am off that night, i sleep 0845-1245, then am up for the day and sleep at night on a normal schedule.

    it works. i black out the sunshine from my window, keep it quiet.
  8. by   XYicuRN2B
    Thanks for the insight folks. No kids in the house for my wife and I, just the 2 dogs and 1 cat... More than enough for us @ 27. As my wife points out - we're both to selfish with our lives to bring another into it yet.

    My employeer states that they attempt to make sure that nights are consecutive, so hopefully it'll help.

    Really like the idea of catching a few hours in the morning and then up as normal when I don't work the following days...
  9. by   Nurse911chicago
    Then definately good idea to hold off on having kids, it's not easy. You get used to the night shift thing and it becomes routine, i did it for the past 7 years
  10. by   Toby's mum
    I work rotating days 7a-7p to nights 7p-7a. I try to lump my nights together. I am a very light sleeper and it takes me a good 2-1/2 days to recover whenever I switch from shift to shift. I use earplugs, have a quiet noise machine and black out curtains. I also keep my room cool and my phone turned off. I sometimes put a sign outside my door to please not disturb. Sleep is important to me and how I function. If I need to feel well rested, I also take benadryl 25mg & 1.5mg melatonin--this combo seems to work like a dream and I can wake up without feeling groggy or lightheaded. I don't recommend this for everyone, but it's a formula that helps me get my rest before heading on to a night shift. Hope this is helpful.

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