5 Ways to Survive the Night Shift for Nurses


You know the feeling of arriving on shift and it’s like something from a movie? It’s all systems go and everyone’s running around. That can get even more manic if you’re on a night shift because your body clock is thrown out a little.

If you are having a hard time adjusting to night shifts, don’t worry. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure that your body and mind is prepared for the tricky shift.

Check out the following nursing tips for preparing for night shift.

Create a quiet sleeping area

To ensure a good sleep, your bedroom should be a place of sanctuary. Your mind and body should associate it with nothing but sleep. This is a sure-fire way to set your body to relax and sleep easier.

Because you’ll be sleeping during the day, make sure that no daylight can get into your room. If you have to, install blackout blinds/curtains to make the room suitably ambient.

Make your bed the comfiest, most-appealing place as much as possible, just like the guys at Sleep Advisor discuss! Think about making it not too hot and it certainly should be free from distractions. Keep your smartphones, tablet, and laptops away from your room.

Consider using apps that help induce sleep if you want. They can be an effective sleep aid.

Check your sleeping routine

When you first started doing shift work, it’s highly likely you felt a bit weird as your mind and body got to grips with the switch in patterns. Therefore, having a sleep routine is a strong foundation towards achieving a high standard of sleep which can help you stay focused and awake at work.

Useful scene-setting tasks you can adapt to help you prep before your night shift while you’re awake during the day are:

  •     Taking a warm shower or bath
  •      Dimming the lights
  •      Brushing your teeth

These kinds of actions help trigger the brain to begin the winding down process which will prepare you for bedtime.

Start the routine you establish around an hour before hopping into bed so that your mind and body can settle. Before you know it, you’ll be fresh as a daisy doing the job you love!

Take advantage of the quiet times

In the emergency room, many of your patients are likely to be asleep or trying to get some quiet rest while you’re working on a night shift.

Night shifts are typically quieter and slower than daytime shifts when it comes to workload. In the morning, there’s a lot more going on. Because of that, you may realize a drop-off in your productivity.

Instead of using this time to have a nap or sit down for five minutes and do nothing, finish documentation, do cart stocking, and get through other tasks. By doing those things, you will have less to worry about and you’ll be helping your colleagues for the next shift.

We understand that you’re likely to be worked to the bone and you deserve to enjoy a quiet few minutes. However, when you stay on top of tasks, you’ll be able to remain alert while you work. This could be a real factor in helping patients when you’re on shift.

Get enough exercise

Make sure you get a consistent level of exercise as that can help you deal with the stresses and strains of your job. The great thing about exercise is that it’ll help you sleep before your shift, too!

Once you’ve been working out in some capacity for four to six weeks, you can rest assured that your fitness levels will increase. That can do wonders for your energy tolerance at work. You can expect to experience more energy at work. You won’t get tired easily as well.

Watch your diet

One of the major cogs in the wheels of your positive cycle is your diet. Establishing a clean, healthy, balanced diet is essential in raising the quality of your sleep.

When you finish your shift, don’t be tempted to run to the nearest takeaway in an attempt to save time.

packed food

When you do get home and you’re prepping for bed, avoid foods that will stimulate the brain. Don’t consume anything with caffeine until you are back at work as you’ll probably need it!

Think small meals and don’t forget to have healthy snacks during your shift. Have a light snack prior to bed too. Sleeping on a full or an empty stomach will cause sleeping problems.

Don’t worry about finding the right foods that you can incorporate into your diet. There are a lot of options out there if you just do proper research.