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Night Shift Tips Wanted!

Starting my first night shift job in a few days (3-12's 1900-0700)...and have already started staying up late nights (nothing like a midnight run!), and started afternoon naps...any all all tips would be appreciated!

Here are a few ques:

1. What happens to my a.m. coffee??? Where do I move it to?

2. Where will my a.m. coffee headache show up?:banghead:

3. Light dinner before work, or heavy dinner (pm) and light breakfast (am)?

4. Should I snack throughout to stay awake, or just light meals?

5. Can my Dr. Rx a coffee/Dew drip? :clown:

I am REALLY looking forward to trying this shift so I want to plan accordingly. I've read the other threads about night shift so I understand it pretty much, just those few final questions...




I have been night shift for about a month now, i thought it would be really hard, but its great!! What I do is the following: I work tonight, so I wake up around 9am or a bit earlier I eat some breakfast then go back to sleep after i take a shower. Then I wake up around 5p and get my coffee either at home or dunkin donuts. Then I go to work. at around 1am or 2am I eat something, usually chicken noodle soup or weight watchers dinner. Then I drink coffee afterwards. After I get out of work i come home and watch some tv. and then go to sleep. :yeah: Another thing that i do is that if i'm not working that night after getting out I don't wake up until late and stay up. I didn't have to do much to get used to night shift. I thought i wouldn't be able to do it, because I always had day shifts at other jobs. But I LOVE night shift. LOVE IT!! hope this helps. Don't stress too much about it, you will do fine.


Good Luck


Specializes in ER/Critical Care.

I've been on nights for a year now, and was on nights during summer vacations during nursing school, and here is what I've found to work best:

*The night before I work I try to stay up late (but I don't push myself too hard), and then I sleep as late as I possibly can. I've tried the get up early and then take a nap, but whenever I do that I never end up taking a nap so I end up staying awake for 26-28 hours at a time which is BRUTAL!

*I have my coffee on my way in to work, just like I would do if I were working days. I have breakfast before I go in as well.

*I eat lunch whenever I get hungry/have time (usually works out to around 0130-0200).

*I go home and if I'm hungry I make myself a small snack, or sometimes I just skip it if I'm too tired, and I either relax and read or take a shower (depending how gross I feel after working), and then fall asleep. Wake up and repeat for next shifts.

*On my last day I either take a nap in the am and force myself awake around noon or one, or I stay up until noon/one and then nap until about 5 or 6; and then I'm tired enough to go to bed like a normal person with my husband.

Really I treat my night shifts just like a day shift-breakfast before work, lunch during work, light dinner after work, sleep when not at work. The hardest parts are the first night and getting back to a regular schedule.

The biggest thing that I have found that helps me "recover" is staying REALLY well hydrated on the day when I'm trying to go back to a normal schedule. (I try to drink at least 2 liters of water-one before the nap and one after.) Anyway, good luck on night shift-I hope it's a smooth transition for you!

Ive been on nights for a couple months now. Really thought it would be a hard transition, but it hasn't been that bad. The first couple days I wasn't sure I would make it home safe (long drive in the car made even longer by being tired), but that has passed, and it is normal to me now.

I try to switch back to days on my days off so that I can spend more time with my family. So, basically the day I work I spend sleeping and the day I get off work I spend sleeping, but other than that, I am on a regular schedule. This is what I do:

The day before I work, I wake up at normal time (0530 - 0600) and take my son to school. Then I eat breakfast, watch TV, do laundry, etc. About 1000 - 1100, I go to sleep until around 1600. I then have lunch, get ready, and leave around 1730. I drink coffee and at least 24 oz. water on the way to work. I eat "dinner" anywhere between 0100 - 0300. Again, I drink a LOT of water, but don't usually drink coffee at work. Before I leave to go home, I fill up my water bottle again, and drink it all the way home. When I get home I eat breakfast, sometimes drink a cup of coffee (I can drink coffee anytime and not have trouble sleeping), then go to bed around 0900. Then I do it all over again.

On my last day of working, I will usually wake up around 1300 so I can go pick up my son from school. Then, I go to bed at usual time with my husband. Voila, I'm back on day schedule.

I would highly recommend that you gradually work yourself up to working as many shifts in a row as you can. It is really hard when you have 2 days on, 1 day off, 1 day on, etc. You will find yourself doing nothing but working, sleeping, and eating. Your house will be a mess, and you will have no food in your pantry. :o)

Good luck! You will figure out what works for you.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

and doing a search on this forum for night shift tips will yield you tons of information. good luck!

I have been working nights(2215-0645) for about 5 months now and this is how I deal with it.

When I get off I get my kids ready for school(now that summer is over) and take them. By now it is 7:30am.

When I get back home I make breakfast and watch tv and fall asleep till about 12:30-1:00.

I then run errands, if any, or clean, start dinner for my family because later I will be sleep. I pick up the kids from school at 3:45.

At 4:00 I spent time with my kids, helping with homework, taking them to the stores, or just about anything so that I'm spending time.

At 6:00 I go to sleep till 9:15 getting ready for work and I leave for work at 9:50.

Oh, I eat light before going to bed because when I have eaten heavy in the past it was a big NO-NO. I woke up still tired and restless. Also, I like going to sleep before going to work because I feel more rested during the night.

Hope this help.

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