How should I be sleeping to work nights?

Friday, November 4, 2016


Working at night is such a strange phenomenon. You go into the hospital on one day and leave on the next. And while everyone outside the hospital typically sleeps during the night, you will find a large portion of your patients wide awake throughout the night.



The biggest challenge for me thus far has been learning how to sleep in preparation for nightshift. When I knew that I was going to begin on nights, I reached out on my Instagram to get some tips from the Veteran nurses and other new grad nurses as well. 

Of course, the Nurse Superstar Kati, from Nurse Eye Roll, has some amazing tips over on her blog. You can check it out here. (Can you say #rolemodel?)

I've modeled my sleep schedule after hers and it seemed like a lot of you on Instagram do the same thing! 

To prepare for an upcoming nightshift, I will try and stay up to 0000 or 0100 the night before and wake up by 0800. I will run any errands that I need to do or pick up items around the house. I try and keep myself pretty busy because I wake up groggy and if I stay in one place, then I will fall back to sleep.

Around 1200 I will eat a lunch and begin to wind down to prepare to nap by 1300. I will wake up around 1700, throw on some scrubs, brush my teeth, and do my hair. I pack my lunch the night before so that I can just grab it and head out the door, maximizing my nap time. 

I will eat a light snack, either some cheese or yogurt, which is enough to hold me over until my 2200 snack at work and 0300 meal at work. 

Sounds pretty simple right? Preparing for work is the easiest part. Yes, it kind of sucks because you waste a portion of your days off preparing for your days on, but with good time management and organization you can really make the most of it!

If I work two nights back to back, then I just sleep when I get home and wake up in time for work. I can usually get into bed by 0930 and wake up around 1700. Again, I have already prepared meals. 

The hardest part is "flipping" my sleep when I have days off. I currently have not tried working three in a row, and my work seems to schedule me on one off one and on two. It really sucks having that night in between. 

Not sure if it is healthy for me, but I will nap until about 1300 and go about my normal life. I try and stay up until 0000, so that I can get a nap in before going to work again. So in essence, when I have a night off in the middle, I half flip my sleep.

What are your suggestions for working nights? Is it better to do three in a row?



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