Night Shft Survival


  • Specializes in Emergency, Management, Travel. Has 32 years experience.

I am starting to work nights again. Have done this before (several years, in fact) so I understand how this works for me at home (turning the phone off, making the bedroom dark, etc.).

I was wondering if any of you would share with me your secrets of what helps you during your shift. Do you take extra vitamins, use herbs, drink tea, change your socks or shoes midshift, eat power bars, etc.



4 Articles; 10,428 Posts

To be honest, I don't do anything at all different from people who get through their dayshifts! I have to be able to get several hours of good sleep before coming in to work, however, and for me that means no phone and an eye mask for darkness. I am usually so busy on my shift that falling asleep is about the LAST thing on my mind! For my co-workers, pretty much the same: haven't seen anyone doing anything special to help them through the night; we all just got used to the schedule and sleep during the day when it best suits us, work through the night like anyone else works days.

But maybe we're odd! :)


658 Posts

Specializes in CMSRN. Has 9 years experience.

I just use a fan on low to sleep. I just like the sound. MY husband usually finds things to do with kids while I sleep. (I work weekends)

SO the fan is not to drown them out. If it is too

silent I end up not falling asleep.


169 Posts

Specializes in orthopedics, ED observation.

There is a fabulous article referenced in the similar threads below this one. I will attempt to link for you, but have little confidence in my skills...

I learned not only some tips, but also some of the physiology that I "knew" but hadn't put together.

Hope this helps!

ETA - Rock on! It works! :coollook:


31 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, rehab, Alzheimers.

The best thing to do is just give it some time. It took me a good 6 months to get used to Night Shift, and even now I still get tired sometimes. Make sure you get enough sleep! Take an hour cat nap before work. Me and the girls I work with take turns bringing in coffee and that helps too!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

It helps to eat nutrient-dense, healthy foods every 3-4 hours while at work to keep your metabolism going. I'm referring to lean meats, fruits, veggies, and so forth.


59 Posts

Specializes in ER/Trauma/Critical Care.

I am working 12 hour nights in the ER right now and it is really affecting my social life. On my nights off, I'll stay up all night because that's what I'm used to, but then in the morning I won't be able to fall asleep. I just lie there in bed and even though my body is exhausted, my mind knows it's day time and I can't sleep. i use ear plugs, noise machine, covered my windows, I've resorted to taking benadryl...I don't know what else to do. Sometimes I'm up for over 48 hours and it's really hard to make plans or be social when you're in that state. i feel like all I talk about with my friends is my lack of sleep and my sleeping habits. I wish I could just get into a regular schedule, it realy sucks. I am at the point now where I may have to find a new job, maybe evenings instead of nights. :deadhorse


208 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

I am missing 3rd shift completely! I worked 3rd for nearly 8 years before I switched over after graduating nursing school. My first nursing job felt I would gain more experience working day shift, which is true for a new graduate. But I miss sleeping in on cold winter days and venturing out late at night to get my shift over with. And the extra oomph in pay didn`t hurt either! but 3rd shift can sometimes be hard to survive.

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