Managing a transition to night shift?



I will be graduating in December and basically all the jobs for new grads are night shifts.

The unit managers say it is usually temporary, but I don't know how a person makes a healthy transition. Any suggestions?

Thank you for the help

Specializes in Rehab, critical care. Has 3 years experience.

Just do your best on night shift, keep a consistent night shift schedule if you have to on your days off (that's what I have to do in order to feel rested; tried flipping back and forth for a year actually, but when I would make myself get up after only sleeping for 3 hours after finishing my last shift, I would just feel exhausted all day. Then, it got to the point when I would go to bed at night exhausted expecting to be able to sleep all night, only to wake up 3 hours later ready to be up for work). Plus, it's healthier to keep a consistent schedule than have your body rotate back and forth anyway.

So, you do what you have to do. Advice here won't really help too much. You'll just have to find what works for you. Definitely, make sleep a priority in between shifts. There are a few that really like night shift, and maybe you'll find you do. I work night shift, too, and have made the best of it by doing things that are available to me when I'm off. One night, I'll clean my house, and then another night, I'll got to one of the restaurants that's open later, and then rent a movie or something. Come on here sometimes and catch up on my e-mails. I would like to go for a nightly jog sometimes or bike ride, but don't really feel safe doing that as a woman, so I use my exercise bike sometimes.


232 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Dialysis. Has 5 years experience.

Nights are a hard shift, if you can consistently sleep on the same schedule you will probably feel better. When I worked nights, I would come home and sleep for 4 hours, then wake up because I was hungry for lunch, then I would be exhausted the rest of the day and usually wanted to go back to bed by 8pm. You also want to eat small healthy meals and snacks, drink plenty of water, avoid lots of caffiene and sugar, it will make you crazy. I wish my body liked working nights because I love the staff and the quiet of the unit and more time w/ patients plus when everyone is going to work you are coming home, which is nice, but my body hated staying up all night, I would love to try it again but I would need to stay on a daytime sleep schedule. Good luck!

They're hard but they pay well. My first nursing job was on nights and I absolutely loved it.. not so much now because I am older. Take a really good nap during the day. I used to clump my shifts together so my nights off are also back to back. I never switched to a normal day routine though. Even on my nights off I still cannot go to bed at night.