RNs who LOVE nights, read me

  1. So....tonight is my first night on nights. I am excited. I have worked days for 12 weeks (i am a new grad) and now I am switching to nights permanently. I have a lot of anxiety about the messing up of my sleep schedule. Any advice? We work 3, 12 hour shifts a week......and I am aiming to do my 3, 12hour shifts in a row......so here are my questions.

    Do you take a nap during the day before you go in for your first night on?

    Or do you sleep in late in the AM on your first day you go in?

    Do you come home after work and go straight to bed?

    Do you try to get a full 8 hours sleep?

    What works for you?

    Do you eat a full meal during your night meal break?

    Any advice will help. Please don't tell me that nothing worked.....although it may be true.
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    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 11; Likes: 2


  3. by   tojal1989
    If it's my first night on I usually try to stay up a little late the night before and sleep till noon. If that doesn't happen I take an hour nap right before work. After working a night I go right to bed and sleep till 3pm and dont need a nap, and yes def try to get 7-8 hrs sleep. And if I worked a night I eat breakfast at 3pm when I wake and then eat dinner while on my break. For days I can't sleep after work (few times), I take a melatonin tablet and puts me to sleep.
    Keep in mind I'm a new nurse, 22 yrs old so I don't have to worry about wife and kids lol.
  4. by   ImThatGuy
    I love working nights. In my current career, a night shift is the norm, and early on I despised it. Now, I like working while the city sleeps. It's more peaceful. Granted, I'm not a RN yet and will finish a BSN program in less than a month, but I interview Tuesday for a job, and it'll be on nights (12 hour shifts). I think I would completely loathe working in a hospital during the day. I want less people there. I want more silence. I want sleeping patients. I want less activity.
  5. by   joanna73
    I work permanent nights which I love. I keep a nighttime schedule on my off nights most of the time. I've found it too exhausting to switch back. Eat, sleep, get your exercise. I also use blackout curtains and melatonin. It takes me 2 hours to wind down in the mornings. Generally, I sleep from 10-530 and I do pilates at least 3 days a week before work.
  6. by   Perpetual Student
    When I worked nights I typically slept during the day even on days off. The only exception would be if I had something planned. Most everybody else works during the day anyway, so it's not like you're missing much except maybe on the weekends, which I typically worked when I did nights. Lots of folks go out in the evening rather than the day regardless.
  7. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    I don't hold any type of schedule really-need based. I am married- but my wife already works a different shift than me. So to spend time with her, I just have to wait on a weekend. I agree on doing the 3 shifts together, that's what I would do.

    Just tips that helped me.

    -Tin Foil for widows, help "Black-Out" your room for that "night" feeling.
    -I actually "Lost" weight after I went to nights, varies person-to-person, I only wanted 1 meal a day (more on weekends).
    -Dim lights about 1 hour before you get ready for bed (you will be sooooo sleepy after end of shift at work, but when you get home after drive home this time of the year, your eyes pop "WIDE OPEN." That helps me alot to start dimming, and creating a serene mood.
    -I have to turn off home phone, and if they have an EMERGENCY, they can call my cell.
    -If you have indigestion, It will be worse now.
    -I started Pepcid OTC for that
    -I used "Herbal" med for circadian rhythm help at first, but it did make me sleepy at work first few days.
    -Naps just make me feel worse, if I have been up, and I only have time for a 3 hour or less nap, I don't sleep. I will feel terrible and "foggy" all night long.

    Good Luck,
    Once I became Nocturnal, I wouldn't trade it for days for anything. Less traffic, Less people at grocery store, love the AM (its so quiet, and refreshing), less stress, and less Administrative Tension during your shift!
  8. by   ShantheRN
    I've worked nights for the past 3 years. I tend to stay on a night time schedule unless I have a lot of off days in a row. It's 4:30am, this is my third night off, and I'm watching TV and catching up on stuff like it's 6pm lol I usually work 2-3 nights in a row. I get home around 8, shower, and watch some TV for an hour or so. My goal is to be asleep by 10am (I have a scrip for ambien for emergencies but rarely use it) and I don't wake up till 5 at the earliest. I use a fan, sleep mask during the summer, and ocean sounds phone app. Knocks me right out. Naps are the devil! Like the PP, they only make me more tired. I usually eat something little (bagel or bowl of cereal) before leaving for work. My break time depends on when my pt assignment will allow it. I always try for 2ish. On nights when it seems like I'll never get a break, I wolf down a fiber one bar - they're filling and they keep my blood sugar even till I can eat an actual meal. I'm diabetic so I always pack snacks I can eat in 30 seconds, just in case.

    I work 12s, but when I pick up an OT shift it's usually 8 hours. Same plan, only I get a few hours before work to do stuff. There's no single method that works for everyone, but I do recommend buying a liter water bottle. Drink one every night. Keeping hydrated will make you feel so much better. If you don't believe me, wait a month into working nights, then add in extra hydration lol You'll thank me!

    PSA: Patients do not just sleep soundly on nights, leaving you with nothing to do but homework and online shopping. I've gotten my butt kicked on nights as much as days. Don't believe the myth!
  9. by   DarkBluePhoenix
    I am not an RN yet, but a CNA and I work three 12 hour night shifts.

    Usually my nights aren't in a row due to school. I normally work like two days in a row, most likely the weekend, and then a day during the week.
    If it is my first night, like others said, I try to stay up as late as possible the night before. That way I sleep in til like 12pm or later. Then I go to work at 6p. Do my thing and get off at around 6:15-6:30a. Then when I get home, I shower and am in bed at 7a (I live down the street). Now here is where it changes for me
    IF I work the next night then I sleep from 7am-2:30pm. Then I wake up, drink some coffee right away and chill before work.
    If I dont work the next night then I sleep from 7am-12p, sometimes I wake up earlier. I do that to adjust to days again because I also have school during the day and a tutoring job during the day. That way I will be able to sleep that night.
    I used to have some bad insomnia where I wouldn't sleep in the day nor the night. I dont know what happened. It was temporary until I adjusted and figured that this worked for me.
    I also work-out on my days off, or actually whatever days I do not go in that night.

    So this is what works for me. You have to kind of fiddle with your schedule and see what suits you.
    Good luck!
  10. by   healthstar
    Hi everyone,I am graduating this May and I am probably going to work nights because of course I will be a new grad.....we get the worst shifts sometimes . Why is that some of you love nights, what do you guys recommend for new grads? day shift, evening shift, nightshift and why? Please help (: hugs
  11. by   ShantheRN
    I forgot something important.....caffeine and exercise! I always do a 20 oz diet pepsi or large coffee per shift along with all my water. I tend to exercise on off days but a few coworkers have told me morning workouts help them sleep faster. I'm going to try it out this week.

    Healthstar, I recommend taking any shift you're offered as a new grad (unfortunately.) Personally my body does much better on nights. I've always been a night owl. Getting up at 5am literally made me sick and I felt exhausted all day. Rotating is great because you get to see both shifts, but it's not so good on your body Try to avoid it if possible.
  12. by   joanna73
    Same. I've held many day jobs over the years and I hated waking up at 0500. I never could sleep before midnight, and forcing myself to sleep earlier was fruitless.
  13. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    If I have to do something during day, I notice I don't even fill like myself until early evening, but then I'm really messed up because I can't sleep that night.

    There's alot of times you have to do things during the day, and yes, many nurses flip-back on their off days. I feel guilty alot during the week (lost time), but I have come to the conclusion that it is best to keep my schedule- but my family tortures me for it. That part really sucks.
  14. by   hiddencatRN
    I love working nights. I also oriented on days and then switched because there was less competition in the schedule sign-up. The ONLY thing I hate about nights is that is messes the rest of your life up, lol. I'm still trying to decide if I keep on a regular sleep schedule or switch around when I'm not working.

    After the first couple of weeks I got used to sleeping during the day, so I can sleep soundly whenever I need to now. I've found that working nights and then coming home and doing errands and whatever needs to be done early in the am before going to bed seems to work pretty well. When I have a few days off in a row it becomes more complicated though. I live in a pretty rural area so there's not a ton of stuff open late nights when I'm most active. Right now I sorta transition between an awake7p-7a for work schedule to a awake late afternoon to early am in the middle of the night schedule. I'm awake mostly during the hours other people are on my days off and it's not too different from my working schedule that I'm completely flip-flopping my sleep hours.

    I know that's not exactly helpful, but I guess my point is that it might take some time to work out how to make it good for you. I love my coworkers, like the pace of nights, and am still working out the details.