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Night Shift!!! How do YOU stay awake?


Specializes in Nursing school.


So, I absolutely LOVE working night shift... and for me to stay awake consists of sleeping well during the day and using caffiene and energy drinks to stay awake...

What do YOU do to stay awake during night shift?

--Kelsey :rolleyes:

I work weekend nights and go to school/clinicals during the week. So I try to stay out late on Thursday night (play pool or something) so I can sleep all day Friday and get on that night shift schedule. I usually get a cup of coffee around 3am and I'm fine. Then after my Sunday night shift I get just a few hours of sleep so I can go to bed at a decent hour Monday night and be up at 4:30 Tuesday morning! :) Not always fun but it's worked so far!

dthfytr, ADN, LPN, RN, EMT-B, EMT-I

Specializes in ER, Trauma. Has 30 years experience.

Save some busy work for 3 AM to 6 AM. Seems like most people start to nod off during those hours. Get busy charting, knitting, or whatever and those hours will go by fast.


Specializes in Nursing school.

Haha, you sound like me...I'm working Sat/ Sun nights right now then going to class monday...haha

I have been trying to adapt as well. Are any of you getting nauseus? I get incredibly nauseus around 4am. I dont drink energy drinks, but I have been having a big coffee around 9pm. I have trouble eating at night due to the nausea.

evolvingrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

I have been trying to adapt as well. Are any of you getting nauseus? I get incredibly nauseus around 4am. I dont drink energy drinks, but I have been having a big coffee around 9pm. I have trouble eating at night due to the nausea.

I eat a little snack every few hours and during my lunch break i sleep for the 30 minutes (were allowed to) I don't drink energy drinks but i do sip on soda throughout the night and occasionally drink a coffee or hot chocolate.


Specializes in Correctional Nursing, Orthopediacs.

I take a walk look on my pts. because about then I am charting for hours. Getting up and walking usually wakes me up. Do not eat a big meal that seems to be a key.


Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.

I take a walk look on my pts. because about then I am charting for hours. Getting up and walking usually wakes me up. Do not eat a big meal that seems to be a key.

I agree about not eating a big meal. Lots of healthy little snacks that keep you at a consistent energy level. Eating too much really gets Mr. Sandman interested in me.

Orange Tree

Specializes in Medical Surgical Orthopedic.

I'm just naturally energetic throughout the night. But when I first started my job, I had to work days....I frequently felt nauseous then!


Specializes in Emergency Department, House Supervisor. Has 15 years experience.

Get the best sleep you possibly can during the day. I did this by investing in black-out curtains for my windows and earplugs when my kids were going to be home while I slept. Also...turn off the phone while you are sleeping. Give instructions to all kids and spouse to call your cell in case of emergency and then put that on vibrate.

For me, getting sleep during the day was the key.

Hope this helps.


PS...I still gained weight and got depressed partly because I am bipolar and night shift work is BAD news for manic depressives.

Edited by syckRN
spelling correction


Has 2 years experience.

I make sure to SLEEP a whole lot of hours before my shift. Currently, I work Thurs N, Sat A, and Sun N. On Thurs, I go to school from 2-4 so I try to sleep early on Wednesdays to wake up by 12 or so and begin my weekend excursion. Luckily, I am able to listen to music which keeps me awake. I don't use caffeine too much :)


Specializes in Psych, EMS.

Talked my doc into prescribing me Concerta. I know it's controversial but it's done wonders for me :)


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

i worked nights 35 miles from home. the drive home was usually no problem because the road was parallel with a busy railroad track (used by a big lumber company) and the train whistle kept me awake if all the school buses didn't. after i got back to town, i'd run any errands i had, grocery shop, take any of the critters who had appts. to the vet, etc. after all that was done, i'd head home and make a cup of tea and read the morning paper, start a washer load, and usually snooze in my chair for an hour or two.

i'd wake up about noon and have the afternoon to do whatever i needed or wanted to do. i'd cook dinner for my husband and me, then shower and go to bed, sleep until about 10:30. i'd dress, and drive the 25-30 minutes back to work, and have time (usually) for a quick review.

i would get very headachy and queasy about 4 am, and tea helped. it eventually went away by about 5 or 5:30 most shifts. i am not a night person!:rolleyes:

locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

been working nights for 4 years now. I enjoy the pace...I find that when I'm heading into a stretch, I'll stay up until 3-4 am on the night before I work...watching netflix, or reading, then go to bed, sleep til 1-2 pm, get up get ready, make lunch, etc.

When I have a lot to do for the first half of the shift, I'm alright. Usually stay busy until like 10-11, some meds at 12, don't usually start charting til 11. If it's a ok night, and my patients are stable, I'll bang out 2-3 assessments in a hour, get up go round, I will eat snacks when I have a minute between 8-10(I also eat a small meal before I leave for work). If I get tired in the morning, I try to stick with water with crystal light, walking to check patients, doing any early morning stuff I need to do. I'll write out my reports at 2-3 am so I'm ready for the next shift to come in.

When I don't get sleep I KNOW i'm tired. I have pulled off in a rest area and slept 2-3 hours before....don't drive tired! too many accidents out there!


Specializes in Mom/Baby.

Lately we have been so busy I don't even have a chance to sit during the night. However when it is super slow, I will play solitaire or other games on my ipod, search the internet (what we can), or try to chit chat with coworkers.

LouisVRN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I stay busy! Honestly I have no problems and never have had any problems staying awake at night. There is always something to do. I will organize the med room, re-stock the nourishment room, file papers, leave the Dr's notes on things their patients would like but aren't critical. Clean my patients rooms, take out the trash, re-stock linens, gloves, thermometer probes, ask my co-workers if they need help, get peoples input on how things are going, formulate ideas for new projects/policies, e-mail my supervisor a list of things we need/are working on. If its late enough that the patients are waking up or early enough in the evening I will refill water pitchers or pass out coffee/tea/juice to the non-NPO patients. I love working nights, my brain works so much better and I feel better overall. However when I have to get up early for a meeting that's another story. I'm always nauseas and feel sick.

Up2nogood RN, RN

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

I haven't had any problems staying awake as long as I keep busy as others have said. That usually isn't too difficult as there's always something to do or someone to talk to. I rarely drink coffee anymore as I've found it works for awhile than I crash. I used to be a coffee addict so this has been a drastic change. I went from eating full meals to just nutritious snacks at night (if I can keep my hands out of the candy drawer!). I've been FT nights now for 3 yrs and have lost that extra 30 lbs I put on the 1st 6 months. WooHoo let's go shopping:)

ETA: I work 2 jobs (5 12's a week) and I always take my break to get an hour of shut eye or just put my feet up anywhere between 3-5 am.

Do-over, ASN, RN

Specializes in CICU.

Personally, i am usually so busy that I don't stop moving long enought to get sleepy =). On the rare occasions when I am not running behind, my teammates usually need a hand.