Tips to Surviving Night Shift

Unfortunately in the world of health care things do not shut down when night time arrives.  This can be hard for any nurse to adjust too, inside and outside of the hospital.  One must learn not only how to adjust their sleep schedule but also learn how to operate when the rest of the world is on a different schedule.  These are a few tips I have for surviving and thriving while working night shift.

  1. Invest in some quality black out curtains or eye mask! You need to create an environment conducive to sleeping during the day.
  2. Limit noise that will disrupt your sleep.  I do this by putting my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and using a white noise/fan app on my phone to help mask unwanted noise.
  3. Try to avoid drinking caffeinated products late in your shift or taking any supplements that might unintentionally cause you to stay awake.
  4. I like to use the This Works Deep Sleep pillow spray every time before I sleep.  If you use it repeatedly, your brain will begin to associate that smell with sleep!  It also contains lavender, vetiver, and camomile oils that help to relax you and help you to fall asleep faster!
  5. If you are still having trouble in the sleep department you can try adding supplements like melatonin, magnesium, diphenhydramine, or Zzzquil.  If these do not work consult with your physician!
  6. Bring healthy work snacks!  It can be so easy to fall into bad food choices while working night shift, so i find it so important to bring a variety of snacks to graze on throughout the day.  I try to always pack something salty and sweet for whatever I am craving.  Some of my favorite things to bring are pretzels, celery and dip, apple and peanut butter, or dark chocolate covered almonds!
  7. Make an expertise schedule and stick to it!  I find it easier to workout right after night shift but for others it might be easier before.  Whenever it is, just make sure you stick to it! It can be so easy to make excuses to not workout when working 12h shifts but it is so necessary to stay physically active and healthy!
  8. Don’t be afraid to send reminders to your loved ones that you are sleeping!  My mother somehow still does not understand the concept of working night shift and sleeping during the day so I send her texts in the morning letting her know I am going to bed and not to call me till after 5 pm!
  9. Try grouping your shifts together!  For many people this helps to prevent flipping back and forth several times in a week.  Or try to stay on a night shift schedule even on your days off.

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