Self care · Skills · Top Tips

Nightshifts tips

Nightshifts can be tough, and we often get asked for some tips for nightshifts. Some people love night shifts and other people dislike them. These tips have been put together by many twitter users. Some may help you, others may not and that’s okay. Everyone must find their own rhythm when it comes to nights, but hopefully these tips will help you out. A big thank you to all who contributed to this list. Let us know your tips and we will update this list.

Best of luck on your nights!

• Get up extra early on the day, and then have an afternoon sleep (some get up as early as 5am and slept again 12-3).

• Keep hydrated and eat plenty of food for energy.

• Get rid of distractions so you sleep in the day.

• Andrew @malestudntnurse said “I only really have some nuts on my break and a coffee (just the one) and drink lots of water. I try to keep to normal meal times but that’s just me!”

• Sandra @Walsh6Walsh said “Become queen (or King) of the pillows for your patients, make them comfortable, night time came be a very emotional time for them. Listen to their fears/worries and give them permission to ask for a hot drink.”

• Rehana @x_rehana_x says “Take fruit with you not red bull! (Apples contain as much sugar as red bull anyway and bananas are a slow carb!) 3-4am is the hard bit; after that it’s downhill, drink plenty and I always try and stay busy, so I don’t feel the tiredness as much, 2nd night is easier!”

• Sarah @RivieraJamming shared many tips, these include;

o Stay up as long as possible the night before my first one.

o Take plenty of snacks and drink plenty of water try and avoid too much caffeine

o I’ll probably actually only have 2-3 coffees during a night shift- 1st being before shift.

o If you have any uni work or something take that along with you as it gives you something to do during the quieter periods.

o Walk around, stock up, go outside and get fresh air. Essentially anything to keep your mind active.

• Toni @FlamingCopper said “I usually stay up until early hours the night before, then sleep in. If you can’t do that, get up early and have a nap in the afternoon. Try not to eat a big meal through the night, have little snacks. Try not to have coffee too late in the shift, you won’t sleep when you get in.”

• Graham @GraCarr said “I found drinking Green Tea helped to stay refreshed and not over caffeinated by the morning. Also find a good routine for your day/night cycle – remember to be sustainable.”

• Charlotte @Charlotte_LucyG said “I did permanent nights before I started my degree & the best way for me was to not sleep on my break so that I had good sleep in the day!”

• The British Medical Journal has this super helpful infographic which can be found here;

https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/suppl/2018/03/01/bmj.j5637.DC1/night_shift_sleep_v24_web.pdf

• Rebekah @Reboverend_RNc said “Change your perspective: “no need to ‘avoid’…embrace them! Often less movements of pts (X-ray etc)- can feel less hectic! Try to minimise doing a night on its own interspersed with day shifts….so many people think doing one night means less fatigue but gives no chance for body to adjust and often means rapid change back to days Stay active overnight, have a 20 min nap and be vigilant if tired.”

• Ellie @EllieBullman93 said “Lots of snacks, I struggle to eat a meal in the middle of the night. Also stay up late the night before if you can. I usually run before my nightshift to wake me up.”

• Debbie @Debs_Word says “I stay up really late the day before a NS, & get up early the day of my shift so I can nap well before shift. I don’t eat starchy carbs over break make me sleepy. I take an activity for break, & then rest my eyes (but not sleep) for up to 30 mins. its kept me refreshed so far.”

• Jay @PUNCJayKing says “No caffeine after 4am it makes you feel rough and it will disturb sleep. Sunglasses on your way home also help you sleep!”

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