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Night Shift Survival

Stress 101   (3,254 Views | 11 Replies)
by allrncb allrncb (New) New

597 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Anyone have any idea how to survive night shift? Just started night shift and this life is rough! I'm gaining weight, I don't know what to eat, I feel sick a lot and I don't know how to adjust this schedule with the rest of my life! SOS.

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NurseOnAMotorcycle has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN.

1 Article; 1,066 Posts; 24,048 Profile Views

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

2 Followers; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 318,884 Profile Views

Well, it helps if you're naturally a nocturnal person, a.k.a. night owl. I can easily stay up all night, but some people struggle with it.

When I worked 12-hour nights I stuck to high-protein food choices such as baked chicken, cheese sticks, cold cuts, and grilled chicken salads. For weight control, I worked out at a 24-hour gym in the morning after my shift ended.

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rnnluvnit2006 has 10 years experience and specializes in POST PARTUM/NURSERY/L&D/WOMENS SERVICES.

41 Posts; 1,243 Profile Views

I have been on nights for over 10 years.

For me, it is a way of life. I don't live days ever...I am completely flipped by 12 hours...12 noon is midnight to me. Always.

It takes a little getting used to, but it works. Who says you have to live mainstream 9-5 hours?

A word of advice...leave your cell phone off or in your car when you go to bed. Eventually those obnoxious fools that call while you are asleep will figure out that you are unavailable when the sun is up. A lot of people think you need your cell phone for an emergency. You are sleeping. There once was a time when cell phones didn't exist, and we survived.

Best of luck to you!

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EmRN14 has 2 years experience.

29 Posts; 2,020 Profile Views

I am leaving night shift in a few weeks because I also had a difficult time with my mental well-being, restful sleep, and other health issues. I am so excited to be on days. Maybe after being there for some time you can put in a request for days. I am sure it would benefit you.

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NurseOnAMotorcycle has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN.

1 Article; 1,066 Posts; 24,048 Profile Views

I'm temporarily on days right now, and I want to know how to survive it! :yeah: Give me night shifts!next week I'm back to normal, thank heavens.

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nurse2033 is a MSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU.

3 Articles; 2,124 Posts; 28,645 Profile Views

MUST get blackout curtains, you can make them. This discovery was a life changer for me. This is for good sleep. Get to bed immediately after your shift, get up at 3 or 4, then exercise. Use white noise or ear plugs to sleep during the day. But seriously, there are only some people that can do it. Good luck.

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Karou has 1 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg.

700 Posts; 8,094 Profile Views

Blackout blinds + blackout curtains make your bedroom a dark den of delicious night. Blackout blinds are expensive but worth it!

Eye mask, earplugs, fans for white noise as appropriate.

Shower before bed to relax you (unless that makes you energetic, whatever works for you!).

Some say eat or don't eat... I can't go to bed on an empty stomach so I have a small bowl of cereal or something similar.

Phone on vibrate or silent. Make family members aware of your schedule.

Eat before you go to work- high protein is best. Bring multiple healthy snacks to munch on. Drink plenty of water at work.

I wear sun glasses on my way home to keep me night like and sleepy.

I take melatonin sometimes on occasion for sleep. I love it.

I'll post more tips if I can think of any.

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loriangel14 is a RN and specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

1 Follower; 6,923 Posts; 36,573 Profile Views

Oddly enough I have no trouble sleeping with the sun streaming in my room. I am a night owl so it seems completely normal to sleep all day . I eat and then crash right after. Usually asleep by 9 and the alarm goes off at 5.

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TerpGal02 has 6 years experience as a ASN and specializes in Psych.

539 Posts; 13,618 Profile Views

I did noghts for a year. Loved my night shift crew, loved the shift itself. I just couldnt deal with the hours. I tried all the suggestions above and I just could not sleep during the day. Plus I ended up having no social life because flip flopping my schedule around on days off was so hard. My blood pressure became difficult to control, I got sick a lot more often. It wasnt good for me. As soon as that sun hit my face leaving the hospital in the AM, my brain was like, "ok its time to be awake!' And when I did sleep it was not restful at all. Not to say you will have the same experience, that was just mine.

The biggest things that helped me slightly were the use of an eye mask, blackout curtains and ear plugs. Also trying to keep your bedroom as cool as possible. I have a heck of a time sleeping if Im hot. I also cant sleep on an empty stomach. I would eat something small like a bagel or cereal before turning in usually. Good luck, I hope it works out for y.

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SarahRN2013 has 4 years experience.

32 Posts; 1,501 Profile Views

I don't have any different tips than the ones already offered. Just wanted to reassure you that other people have initially struggled but then thrived once they found the right combination of sleep products (sleep mask, fan, white noise machine, etc.) and schedule. I was truly DREADING working nights. I am not a night owl at all. But with the right products & schedule, I love nights and have a hard time imagining working days on the floor.

I do not stay 100% nights and do just fine, but it was probably a month or two of trial and error to find the right schedule. For me, I sleep 2-4 hours before starting a set of shifts (I try to work 3 in a row as much as possible). I sleep a solid 7-7.5 hours between shifts and then I sleep for 5-7 hours after my set of shifts. Even after sleeping 5-7 hours after my set of shifts, I generally don't have trouble sleeping 7 hours from 0000 to 0700 that same night to switch back to days for my off dates. It's a little trickier when I'm not able to be scheduled for 3 in a row, but even in those situations, I've figured out what schedule works for me. I hope you'll quickly figure out what schedule and products work for you!!

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Maevish has 9 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU, Postpartum, Onc, PACU.

396 Posts; 9,805 Profile Views

Like the others said, if you're not already a night owl, it may always be difficult for you. If you have kids or a s/o, then staying on the night shift hours just may not be possible (kids don't care how much or how little sleep you get and are usually up with the sun). It love nights and the month of day shifts I did nearly killed me, so I was in the opposite boat as you haha.

My parents and friends all thought that I would be better off physically if I did days and that's just not true for me. Studies have recently come out saying that what is bad for you is going back and forth on night/day sleeping patterns, not nights in general. If you can do that (which I have a hard time with even though I'm single with no kids because of family gatherings/stuff with friends etc), you'll be a lot better off. Working out helps too, which I've just started doing again, so good luck to you!

xo

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