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Night Shift!!! How do YOU stay awake?


Specializes in Nursing school.

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Baloney Amputation, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Acute Care.

When I get a little sleepy, I go to YouTube and play the video for Mr. Blue Sky by ELO. Seriously. (I work at home on the computer and I'm paid on production, for any busybody out there reading this who is thinking I'm doing something wrong on someone else's dime.) Anyway, that song does it for me better than any caffeine, though I don't mind hitting the caffeine. :) I think it's those first few beats that just jolts my system to alert mode.

I don't know if this is an option for you, but if you can duck away and listen to a song for a minute or two like this, you'll quickly gain the minute or two back in productivity that you would have lost otherwise by dragging your tired behind around.

I also stay away from too many simple carbs as well before work. That helps a lot.

Bortaz, MSN, RN

Specializes in CDI Supervisor; Formerly NICU. Has 12 years experience.

I work.


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

i work.

but some nights have lulls...:yawn: even in psych...:rolleyes:

Dalzac, LPN, LVN, RN

Specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

I worked in ICU and I would have a cup of coffee around 2:30 or 3 and then do bedbaths on my patients My patients were usually on vents or in a coma like state. By the time I was thru fluffing and puffing it was time to go home

Bortaz, MSN, RN

Specializes in CDI Supervisor; Formerly NICU. Has 12 years experience.

but some nights have lulls...:yawn: even in psych...:rolleyes:

not so, according to the director of my unit..."there's always something that needs to be cleaned!" lol

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

I have the luxury of being able to stay on a MN schedule: I routinely sleep from noon/2pm until 9pm. Then, I am awake all night long. No big deal- sleep during the day, awake at night.

Thanks for asking.


raekaylvn, LVN

Specializes in School Nurse, Peds HH, DD. Has 10 years experience.

I make sure I stay in bed till at least 6pm. Most of my busy work is from 9pm-3am. 3am-6am is the hardest. I literally have nothing to do. Since I'm in home health, and have only one patient, I usually do school work, watch tv/movies on Netflix, surf the internet, ect...

The days I don't sleep well, I drink some Redbulls. Those are helpful :)


Specializes in Cardiac, Ortho/Neuro, Hospic, LTC.

Spark! I always have one before work and usually another about 1 am. It really gets me going!

I sleep when the kids are at school and I make sure to stay up the night before I am working a three or four day stretch of 12 hr shifts. I do 7p-7a. On the Neuro floor there is that happily medicated lull around 2-4 am. I eat small meals of complex carbs and lean protein every three hours. I snack on nuts and dried fruit and berries. I try not to drink caffine and DO drink alot of water. I avoid the cafeteria like the plague! To much greasy, sugary crap down there. I also try to make sure that I have something to do during the busy time. Like right now I am on my 30 min lunch break and on allnurses from my laptop in my fiancee's room.( pancreatitis...yuck)


Has 6 years experience.

How can you not stay awake? I'm always busy, there's always something to do. There's a med to be passed, hourly rounds per protocol at my hospital.charting, shift assessments, care plans. I don't have dull moments on my night shift. If i did though... coffee+ energy drink+ food+ good sleep the during the day = awake for me, lol!


Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.

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.

is that how you lost weight, eating more snacks, than full meals? Interesting to know. I feel better eating smaller amounts on nights, though I feel more hungry.


Specializes in babysitting.

nothing. just keep working nites and your body will adjust eventually.

Up2nogood RN, RN

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

is that how you lost weight, eating more snacks, than full meals? Interesting to know. I feel better eating smaller amounts on nights, though I feel more hungry.

I think so, the other major change was not going down to the cafeteria or eating fast food at all. The French fries sure do smell good but gave me such a gut ache afterwards yuck. I think it all comes down to lowering your caloric intake. Granted it does take time to start losing but eventually it will start coming off. I was able to buy a whole bunch of new scrubs because my old one's were way too big and I got questioned frequently by pts if I was expecting!

I don't usually eat dinner before work. I do have a snack and than eat a small meal- or snack to some (1/2 turkey sandwich on Dave's killer bread-the best! with a piece of fruit, low fat milk or water) around midnight or so and I'm stuffed and will usually eat the other half before the end of my shift. Or I will cook up a lot of real oatmeal to eat before work (and for the next few nights) and take some with me to work (very filling). The amount that I eat is snack-sized to most people I know. My only indulgence is ice cream:)

My husband jokes that he only takes me out to eat to get my leftovers!

86toronado, BSN, RN

Specializes in neurology, cardiology, ED. Has 5 years experience.

My trick is to not try to get onto a "day" schedule on my days off. I stay up until 3 or 4am on nights off, then sleep until noon. That way on work nights, staying up until 8 or 9am isn't that big of a stretch. Oh, but I am blessed with a husband who also works nights and zero children. I don't know what I would do if I had a family... good thing I don't plan on it!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

What do YOU do to stay awake during night shift?
I'm naturally a night person and a late owl, so staying awake during night shift is a very easy feat for me to accomplish.

I work 12-hour night shifts, from 6pm to 6:30am. I go to bed around 9am and awaken at about 4:45pm. I find that I am able to stay awake and alert the whole night if I sleep right up until before it is time to get ready for work. Other people make the mistake of going to bed immediately after work and awakening at noon or 1pm.

I have no problem staying awake on the shift it is on my days off that really messes with me.. I end up staying stuck in that nite shift mode and can't adjust. It is depressing and frustrating when I am off because I feel like I am sleeping all the time. Have recently been rotating and still having the problem. I like nite shift but I hate it when I am off..


Specializes in Utilization Management; Case Management.

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.

:redpinkhe:redbeathe:redpinkhe you're my hero :redpinkhe:redbeathe:redpinkhe