Night-shift in ICU

Nurses General Nursing


Hi, I work nights 12hrs.....& without exagerating.....each night I feel like I am going to belly aches, I feel dizzy..even nausea @ times. Even though we are allowed 'nap time' I can rarely 'nap'. Coffee has been helpful, however 5 shots of espresso really can 'screw' one up. Does anyone have any helpful hints..I would really appreciate it. Thanx.


334 Posts

Why dont you just switch to days if the nights are not agreeing with you. Nap time, what is this kindergarden? Never heard of an ICU RN getting nap time on shift, thats crazy. Maybe a cat nap on your lunch brk or something. Sounds like you need to be a day shifter.

LT Dave

63 Posts

Don't eat or drink coffee after mid. Exercise during day time. If all else fails...retire if possible.


14,633 Posts

Some people just aren't suited, biologically, to working nights -- do you have a possibility of moving to another position on days?

When I worked nights regularly, I found it most helpful to stay on the night shift schedule (sleeping late into the day, being up much of the night) on my days off, and not try to keep switching back and forth. Also, you need to work on getting much more sleep during the day than you think you need -- it seems like eight hours of sleep during the day just doesn't leave you feeling as rested as the same amount at night.

Specializes in Med-Surg.

oops...wrong thread!


221 Posts

As we all know, most hospitals do not give you the choice of working steady daylight. Unfortunately, most places make you rotate. I was like you. I would get tired around 4 am or so, and the ride home was a killer just to stay awake. What I finally did, was to keep busy all night. If my patient care was done, I restocked or cleaned ( is not beneath me to "ancillary jobs"). Reading was out, because it made me more tired.

Then I did my best to get off of the night shift. As someone said above, some people are not cut out for that shift. My best friend has worked it for 20 years and loves it.


37 Posts

Hi Charmed -- welcome to allnurses. :)

I loooooooove my ICU night shift job. You don't say how long you've been doing this... is this new and you're just adjusting? Or has it been a long time?

Now for the hints (nothing you prob don't already know, just getting the behaviors in place is the hard part:

1. Hydrate well. I bring a small cooler with bottles of water now, dump ice over them to make it a treat.

2. Eat well. Healthy light main meal, lots of veggies, healthy snax (sliced fresh veggies, fruit, granola, low fat cheese/crackers). DON'T graze from the vending machine.

3. Avoid the coffee (and other caffeinated drinks). Acidic and likely contributing to the nausea, belly ache, and dizziness. Also makes it difficult to sleep when you get home.

4. Make a small ritual of relaxation when you get home (quick soak in the tub, quick shower, massage your own temples or feet, spend time with your cat/pet, quick relaxing nookie LOL, whatever helps you rest).

5. Get 30"-60" of exercise when you wake. It'll give you energy for the day once you get into a rhythm (if you don't exercise now, build up slowly). Walking is great and centering.

Well that's a start. Let us know what else we can do to help! :)

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X