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Need tips for night shift!!

Psualum21 Psualum21 (New) New

So I've always craved a steady schedule but then I got into nursing and that all changed. I love being a nurse but being on nights is grueling..I I use caffeine to get through the night and by the time I get home I sleep 7 hours till about an hour before my next shift, wake up and do it all over again. I usually work 3 days in a row because i want to get it over with and I feel like my body takes longer to recover from switching from nights to days. After my month of nights it is absolutely brutal for me to try and get on a daylight schedule...all I want to do is mope around and sleep all day!! Seriously nothing gets me out of bed, then I end up sleeping all day and then can't fall asleep at night!! It not only is taking a toll on my body but my mood as well. Unfortunately depression runs in my family and even though I've been on Zoloft for years, whenever I work nightshift I get very moody and sad...I never ask for all daylight because I'm a new nurse and know I have to suck it up because that's the job.

does anyone else feel like this?! How can I avoid sleeping all day and being up all night after working nights?!?!?!

I use melatonin, caffeine, and light/dark therapy to manage the switch. First day off I try to only sleep 6 hours, get up and have a cup of coffee while sitting under a daylight lamp (or go outside and get some rays). Around 9pm only dim lighting/dark, melatonin an hour before bed, sleep again between 11pm and midnight. That might be too much sleep for some but that first day off nights, a bit of catch up works well for me.

nurseburst, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Telemetry, Step-Down, Med-Surg, LTC.

I started on the night shift and am going back... and it is brutal, more so for others and I am even a night owl.

notanumber has really good suggestions. I suggest you develop a routine for when you get home from work from these night shifts, buy some black out curtains, and limit caffeine to the beginning of your shift only (this is hard for me because I looooveee to drink coffee all through the shift.)

To adjust back to the day shift when you switch (grr I hate that!) you may need to sacrifice and stay up ALL day after your last night shift... and then fall asleep at night with something as natural as possible (if you aren't already crashing into bed and snoozing) like melatonin or benadryl.

I feel you on the Zoloft and mopey, etc... am there with you. If night shift really doesn't work for you, ask if you can switch for a better work-life balance... I am going to go back to night shift while I adjust to the hospital setting.

Best of luck to you and many Zzzs when you want them!


Specializes in LTC.

Heard this one and practiced it - I think it really did help. I really would need to research it further.

When leaving your work facility in the morning to get to your car, WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES!!! Wear them BEFORE you walk outside.

Has something to do with the fact that sunlight sends neurotransmitter impulses through your eyes to your brain and it signals your brain to stay awake.

That period of time is also very sensitive to other factors like cortisol production and circadian rhythm stuff. Anything you can do to optimize that PRE-bedtime period would be to your advantage. Like even tailoring your music selection for your drive home could selectively improve your sleep cycle.

I retired like 6 years now. I was an NOC person. I'm still not adjusting back to a dayshift schedule easily.