Career Magazine

Nursing Tips: How to Survive the Night Shift

Posted on the 17 August 2012 by Pacificcollege @pacificcollege1

It is common for nurses working the night shift to always have a difficult time ‘functioning’ on the night shift and tin maintaining their physical and emotional health. Oftentimes the source of their pain is their sleeping pattern. No matter how you handle the night shift in your nursing career, there are certain basics you have to work on to survive.

Getting enough sleep after eating a healthy breakfast during the day for your long shift is consequential. Try to limit your fluid intake to avoid bathroom interruptions and a dark cool room (no phone, no doorbell) is what you need to sleep undisturbed. You can also use these tips to help you pull all-nighters studying for exams in your nursing program and also for your nursing licensing examination.

What You Should Eat
At work, eat only healthy snacks and by all means avoid loading yourself up on carbs that can only make you get sleepy. Drinking lots of water during the shift can be helpful against dehydration, constipation and IBS. If you will, stick with unprocessed foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables; snacks like carrots and peanut butter are a great way to get the protein and nutrients you need to keep going.

Avoid Dependency on Caffeine
The habit of being too reliant on caffeine to stay alert during your shift may get you the occasional rush, but it can be addictive and disrupt your circadian rhythm. If you feel the need for a gust of energy to stay alert, excuse yourself from your duties for a few minutes and take a brisk walk. This will be sure to wake you up and clear your wind. Also try drinking green tea as opposed to coffee, as it has about half the caffeine but is high in the amino acid L-theanine, which both calms and boosts concentration.

The Working Parent Nurse
For the parent nurse with kids home, consider looking into daycare in order to get some undisturbed sleep. Don’t bet on it falling into the trap of using the night shift as a way to save money on childcare. You sure need that undisturbed sleep for at least 6 hours after working all night otherwise you will be a mental and physical wreck.

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