Tips on Adjusting to Night Shift?

  1. Hi everyone.

    I am recently graduated RN about to start my first job on a Med-surg floor on the night shift. I have worked evenings before (waitress) and I feel that I am at my most productive in the evening hours. And I am totally fine with working evening and night-time hours, but I am not sure how to adjust my schedule so that I won't be exhausted and have that horrible feeling of not getting enough sleep (like in nursing school!). I want to be sharp during my orientation and not spend the first part of it adjusting to the time change.

    A little about my situation: 7pm to 7am shift, 2 nights a week and a third shift from 3pm to 11pm, and some of these hours will undoubtably be weekends. I will start the job in 2 weeks. The commute is less than 30 minutes. I have 2 teen-agers at home.

    I'm concerned about sleep! And how do you handle the other 3 or 4 days of the week that you aren't on the schedule? Do you revert back to "regular" hours like the rest of the world? Do you drink alot of coffee in the early morning hours? What time of day do you do your usual activities, like grocery shop, laundry, house-cleaning, parenting?

    Thanks for any suggestions and advice you may have for me!
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    About JulieL

    Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 32; Likes: 12
    from US


  3. by   transducen
    Stay up every night. Drink smoothies after 11:00 p.m, it helps with digestions problems because of the time reverse, and dring at least 2 L of water. Stay away from Mtn. Dew and sugar, it will end ya. Cofee is good when warranted instead of soft drinks... Melatonin, Benadryl or Doccylamine sucinate(sp?) is good for sleep.
  4. by   transducen
    Sorry about the spelling mistakes.
  5. by   turnforthenurse
    I'm one of those nurses who revert back to "normal people hours" when I am off, but that is because I do my three nights in a row and end up with usually 4 days off in between. On my first day off I usually sleep until around 1pm, though sometimes it is hard not to sleep later because I am so exhausted. I stay up as long as I can but usually end up going to bed by around 9pm or so. I take something to help me sleep through the night. Melatonin, Benadryl and Unisom are all good options. Afterwards I usually don't have any problems but there are times where I will be wide awake in the middle of the night for no body is just used to being up all night. When I'm going back to my night shift schedule, I stay up all night. Thank goodness for a 24-hour Walmart nearby because I will go there in the middle of the night, like 0300-0400. I like it better that way, too, because the place is almost's way too crazy for me during the daytime. On my days off I do laundry and grocery shop and run errands during the daylight hours like normal people do lol.
  6. by   lovinlife11
    I lasted 5 years on night shift. Couldn't do it anymore! Anyhoo, I worked all my nights together and always came home and went right to bed. If I was off the next night I would wake up at 2 or 3 and then go to bed at 5. I would live a normal life when not working as I also have children. Congrats on the new job and good luck! Med surg is an awesome experience!