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I can't sleep!!!


Specializes in Peds PDN, Med-surg. Has 1 years experience.

So I worked my first night shift last night, 7pm to 7 am. It all was well while I was working (thanks to the coffee and red bull :alien:) but as soon as I got home I just wasn't tired anymore!! So I had a quick bite and just laid in bed until I finally fell asleep around 930 but then I woke up at 2 pm and could not fall back asleep :madface: I have black out curtains but is there anything else I can do to help me sleep? What do you guys do? I work again tonight and I'm scared of becoming a zombie :no:. Please and thanks!

If you must drink the "juice" then make sure you drink plenty of water as well.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Seriously? You drank Red Bull and coffee and you want to know why you can't sleep?

I just drink water.

I'm sure your body will adjust to the time change. Try not to rely on too many stimulants. Personally I sip on 5 hour energy but drink lots of water too. Caffeine bonds to water (hence the whole caffeine makes you pee a lot thing) and you'll get rid of it more quickly.


Specializes in community small-town med/icu unit. Has 2+ years experience.

When I work nights, I'll have a coffee or 2 at the BEGINNING of my shift, but nothing more than water or regular juice after the 1/2 way point.

If you have a medscape account (free!) check out this CME/CE on Night Shift Syndrome. I found it eye opening (and well, helped my shut-eye too) after I read it. I saw what I was doing wrong in terms of my sleep hygeine.


Edited by jmdRN
would help if I put the link in... wouldn't it? :p


Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I keep a bottle of ZzZquil next to my bed for "those" kind of nights. I swear they made that stuff just for me lol. I swing back and forth between 2nds and 3rds constantly so my body never knows when to sleep =/

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 20 years experience.

Stop drinking red bull. That stuff is awful. Drink more water. Lay off any caffinated beverages after 0200.


Specializes in ICU.

+1 to all the above. Interestingly, I will drink a small Mountain Dew to ensure I stay awake on my 45 min drive home, yet as soon as my head hits that pillow ..... :dead: 12 hour nights. Ugh.

smartypantsnurse, LPN

Specializes in Peds PDN, Med-surg. Has 1 years experience.

Lol yea I don't think I could stay awake with just water....

Everyone's body is different. I drink 2-3 coffees when I work at night. Two before for sure, and sometimes once during my shift. Caffeine is my friend. If that coffee and red bull keep you alert during your shift, then I don't see a problem with it. But then again, I'm even able to fall asleep after having coffee.

I rarely ever have a hard time falling asleep, but some days are like what you described. For whatever reason, I wake up and I just can't get back to sleep. And I'm sure that applies even to people with a normal sleep schedule.

I find it helps to have a routine so your body knows what to do. I come home, eat something small, get cleaned up, wind down with TV or a book, and then go to bed.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

Nights takes a few months to adjust to. I work permanent nights and I don't have any caffeine within 6 hours of my shift ending. You won't be able to sleep when you're jacked up on caffeine. Much safer to get used to the night routine and start feeling tired as your shift is winding down.

Splashing cold water on my face and walking the halls really helps when I'm starting to feel tired.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

You will adjust better as time goes on. Less red bull towards morning. A nice hot bath when you get home. A fan to wipe out noise. Warm milk. Check with your PCP for other options like Benadryl or Melatonin.

I work nights as well. I actually have a coffee at work and usually drink it from 3:30a to 6:30a (yea, I take my sweet time with it - usually iced coffee.) From there I head home, get ready, and immediately go to bed. I get a solid 8-9 hours of sleep as I feel I need more sleep than usual to feel normal.

That being said, I have some days where I wake up at 1 or 2 in the afternoon as well. I just stay in bed and try to sleep. After a while those days are less and less. I also realize that if I sleep in too much on my days off and get too much sleep that this makes it harder to sleep on a work day. Despite a cup or two of coffee at 5a I usually pass right out when my head hits the pillow!

Melatonin helps I hear, and I have a pair of sleep shades for my eyes.


Specializes in Psych/med surg.

I have the same problem and my body never gets used to it. I always feel like crap the day after I work 3rd shift. Night shift is rough.

everthesame, LPN, LVN

Has 12 years experience.

Unless I am off the next night and have something to do after work in the morning, I stop the caffeinated beverages around 3AM. Also, I wear sunglasses for my drive home unless it is winter and still dark when I leave work or if it is raining or snowing. I find that the sunlight "energizes" me on the drive home, even on cloudy days. I make sure I put the sunglasses on before I step outside the hospital.

Another thing, for me, a cold room to sleep in helps. It may be 40 degrees outside and I will have my bedroom window open and a couple of extra blankets on the bed.