Night shift on days off?


I will be switching to nights as soon as my training period is over (about 2 weeks from now). I haven't worked nights in nearly 20 years and it was rough back then when I was much more resilient.

Many articles about sleep suggest maintaining the same schedule all of the time to avoid disrupting your sleep pattern. But if you're not answering call lights, dispensing meds, charting, and interacting with other people how are you supposed Ito stay awake in the middle of the night? And when would you possible hope to see family and friends who work day shifts?

What do you do on your days off?

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

A really good compromise is to stay up until 0200-0300 on your days off and sleep until 1100 or so. A lot of my single night shift co-workers do this. As soon as my youngest leaves for college- that's what I am planning to do.


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That sounds like a decent compromise. I just need to figure out what to do between my daughter going to bed and 0200 that's active enough to keep me awake and quiet enough to not keep her awake. It seems really unfair to her that she's out of the house for most of my sleeping hours so I won't be disturbed but I'll be home most of her sleeping hours. I know we'll figure it out but I am really dreading this night shift.



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First, make sure your room is properly set up:

+ Dark, dark, dark... as in pitch black (foiled windows, blackout shades/curtains/blinds)...

+ White noise generator and/or good, comfy earplugs... or both.

+ Good temperature control

+ No phone anywhere nearby, or a cellphone with a very restricted ring-through list!!!!

Try to cluster your shifts... I find that after 4 or 5 nights in a row, I can easily switch back to being a NOC sleeper.

Make friends with the idea of taking naps.

Use those late hours for exercising and studying... quiet and beneficial.


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Thanks! I am working on and experimenting with room darkening ideas now. My iPhone is set that only when the same number calls twice in less than 3 minutes will come through. That way if my immediate family really needs to reach/wake me they know to call twice and I don't have a land line so that problem is fixed. I've got a ceiling fan, but I'm also going to get an oscillating table fan for both extra air movement and white noise.

I know I'll figure this out but I really m not looking forward to it.

Yeah... I work permanent nights. ... I can not fall asleep at 02-03:00 am . that is way to early for me. Maybe 04-05 if I use some over the counter stuff and work up super early that day. Sometimes I can't fall asleep until 10- 11 am , even if I woke up "early" the last day. The easiest way for me to get on a semi normal schedule is to work a few 12s in a row then come home and stay up NO NAPS until as late as possible. sometimes 9pm. then I may get on a day shift schedule. But that means that day I can not go out as I am too sleepy or out of it and am confined to my house. I rarely do this. Also if I only have 1-2 nights off it is not worth it. Friends and family on day shift...I don't really see them. On my nights off I go to the gym until it closes , then come home and watch tv and go online. Some times I go to bed at 4am and wake up at 9am. If I feel energized I just get up drink some coffee and get going . The longer I am on night shift the less I like switching back and forth. It is a mess. There isn't any set schedule or stability. I just do what my body feels like it.