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Tips for adjusting to night shift?

Nurses   (2,899 Views 12 Comments)
by LonRN LonRN (New Member) New Member

748 Visitors; 3 Posts

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I am a 50+ rookie nurse starting on night shift and I've never done shift work. I'm a light-sleeper and use a fan year round for the white noise, my bedroom is dark and I got earplugs. I have scripts for sleeping pills but don't like using them unless necessary. Does anyone have any survival tips to pass on?

Thanks

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

915 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,803 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

i am a 50+ rookie nurse starting on night shift and i've never done shift work. i'm a light-sleeper and use a fan year round for the white noise, my bedroom is dark and i got earplugs. i have scripts for sleeping pills but don't like using them unless necessary. does anyone have any survival tips to pass on?

thanks

use the sleeping pills. they're necessary.

 

take your sleep time seriously. you wouldn't get up at 2am to have lunch with a friend; don't get up in the middle of your sleep period for anything or anyone that isn't on fire, not breathing or bleeding profusely.

 

eat a real meal in the middle of your shift. you can call it breakfast lunch or dinner, but take your meals seriously.

 

take your exercise seriously too.

 

do a search for the many night shift threads we already have on this board; there are many helpful suggestions.

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12,715 Visitors; 1,785 Posts

If you get tired during the 2 am lull.... GET UP AND MOVE! it helps keep you upright and alert.

I stop drinking coffee and other caffienated beverages around 2 am too, so that I can sleep when I get home.

It takes a while to get adjusted - give it some time.

Best of luck.

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Midwest4me works as a LPN.

9,363 Visitors; 1,007 Posts

Treat it like a day shift job: try to get a good amount of sleep right before you go into work---mine is always broken up(I get sleep in the morning when I get home, get up for a few hours in the afternoon then sleep 4-5 hours in the evening.

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moongirl works as a OB RN.

4,966 Visitors; 699 Posts

ditto what everyone said!! Eat a real meal on your lunch break. dont let family/friends/appointments interfere with sleep. Oh,and a really nice quality eye mask.. even if your room is super dark. It is a signal for me now, ear plugs in, eye mask on and my brain knows it is time for sleep. always eat something substantial before you try to sleep all day, otherwise at noon your tummy will be growling, used to having lunch at that time.

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locolorenzo22 works as a ortho neuro detox nurse, new tele nurse.

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It takes a few weeks to get used to it...but I second to make sure to drink/pee, and eat a real meal.

I eat every night before I go in, I start drinking pop about 8-9PM, and have a meal about 11. Then I drink another pop about 1...then just stick with water/tea/crystal light for the rest of the night.

At home, I wind down for a hour or two, then I go to bed...sleep for 6-7 hrs, then get up, do something around the house, then get ready for work. I get to work 1/2 hour before clocking in to get myself set up and ready to hit the floor running. generally you're first half will be busy, the last half slows down a little.

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blondy2061h has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Nurse, duh!.

3 Likes; 37,028 Visitors; 4,094 Posts

I try and group all my shifts together either at the beginning of the week or the end of the week so I can get 8 days off in a row. If I have anything less than 3 days off in a row I don't generally try and flip my schedule.

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CABG patch kid works as a registered nurse.

13,095 Visitors; 546 Posts

Honestly it took me about a good 3 months to get adjusted. I am a night person and generally stay up late even on my nights off (it is currently 4:42 am here, just to prove my point, lol). I've found that it works best for me. Even on my days off I don't make early morning appointments unless I have to, I sleep in until the afternoon time and then go about my day. Errands and shopping can be done in the afternoon on days off, or right after work in the morning as long as it only takes an hour or so. House cleaning is usually done at night; you'll find there are a few things you can do that aren't too loud at night if you don't mind that.

Other people like to go back to a regular daytime schedule on their days off. You can try to sleep for a short period, maybe 4 hours or so on your first day off, then go to bed later on that night to get back on schedule. That doesn't work for me, I end up waking up in the middle of the night wide awake (my body thinks it was just a nap).

By trial and error, you will find the long-term solution. I prefer working nightshift and actually had a nightmare about working dayshift one time! But its not for everyone and if after 6 months you feel its not going to work for you, talk to your supervisor.

Good luck!!

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saber_rider works as a Staff Nurse.

998 Visitors; 13 Posts

Rest and Sleep...are the key ingredients to adapt successfully for the night shift. Usually, before going on duty at night, i take a nap in the afternoon, wake-up at around 7 pm, eat my dinner, watch a little TV and then i prepare for my night shift. Always arrived at the hospital 2 hours before my shift because i have to prepare my meds and prescribe to patients any meds they are lacking at; which is a very strenuous job if you have 32 patients and your the only nurse responsible for their medication. Always have something to eat like a cup of noodles or soup because being hungry during that shift affects you performance as a whole which could in turn lead to some bad mistakes.I sleep during the night shift waking up only if there are IV follow-ups and emergency cases but, prior to sleeping i checked all my meds to be given at 4 am and 6 am so that when i wake up, it will be ready to be given to my patients. After my shift, i eat my breakfast, read some books for about 30 minutes and then i get a very restful sleep for about 8 hours.

Hope this help.:spin:

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bellehill has 9 years experience and works as a Clinical Nurse Educator.

7,280 Visitors; 566 Posts

A few people I work with swear by Melatonin supplements to help them sleep better. I have never tried them, I always sleep. Expect to be tired all the time for the first few weeks especially. Give yourself a break and take a nap when you are tired. Oh, and turn your phone off when you are sleeping.

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748 Visitors; 3 Posts

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I've also read the numerous tips in the two similar threads as well. Great ideas, wish me luck. Lon

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