9 Ways to Survive the Night Shift for New Nurses

9 Ways to Survive the Night Shift for New Nurses

There are plenty of us who work the night shift, and nurses, in particular, have ways to survive the night shift. Now, if you are a new nurse and are assigned on your first night shift, here are ways to get through the night.

9 Ways to Survive the Night Shift

Working as a night shift nurse can be both rewarding and demanding. Depending on where you are assigned, you can either love your assignment or hate it. So, how can you survive working the night shift? Here are nine ways:

1. Set your night shift schedule.

One of the first challenges you will encounter as a first-time night shift nurse is sleep. When you are used to sleeping at night, sleeping during the day may be problematic. To avoid this, clear a schedule when you will sleep after your shift and then stick to it. Of course, this will be entirely up to you. 

2. Stick to a routine that works for you. 

Time management is essential as a night shift nurse. Create a routine that works and stick to it. Whether scheduling your time with friends, family, or yourself, a schedule that works for you is vital. 

3. Get enough sleep. 

Working on a night shift can mess up your body clock. That said, you must create an environment conducive to sleep. A quiet, darkened room, an eye mask, and disconnecting yourself from everything can help you get the sleep you need [1]. 

4. Keep caffeine to a minimum.

One of the ways to survive the night shift is drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks. Although this helps keep you awake, drinking too much caffeine is not healthy. It is recommended to drink coffee about 20 to 35 minutes before starting your work to keep you alert for the night. It would also be best to limit your coffee to at least two cups.

5. Bring healthy snacks and stay hydrated. 

It is common to get hungry at night time. If you think you will be hungry on your shift, snacks can help you. However, I would recommend you eat a full meal an hour before going on your night shift [2].

Choosing healthy snacks to bring is essential. Keep in mind that gaining weight is easy when working a night shift. Our metabolism is slower at night, which also makes our digestion slow.  Healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, salad, granola bars, and other healthy options are excellent if you don’t want to gain weight. 

6. Watch your health.

Many night shift workers are prone to health risks, which is why sticking to a healthy diet is a must. As a nurse, you must check your health as well. Insomnia, diabetes, increased blood pressure, colds, and a weakened immune system are just a few of the health issues that night shift nurses may experience. 

7. Keep yourself busy.

One of the many challenges of night shift nurses is to stay awake throughout the night. It is hard to keep your eyes open when you don’t get enough sleep the day before your shift. To keep yourself awake, find activities that can help your stay up all night.  

When I was doing my night shifts, one of the ways that helped me stay up was to arrange the supply closet. I made sure that everything was in order and checked for lacking supplies. Not only did it make the supply closet neat, but it was also easier to track which items were out. 

You can also find activities like that. Keeping yourself busy for the night will keep your mind awake and alert. 

8. Mingle with your co-workers.

One of the ways to survive the night shift is to form a bond with your co-workers. Spend time getting to know the people you are working with and form new friendships. It will make things easier at work, especially at night. 

Remember, there are only limited people to ask for help during night shifts, and the ones you can rely on are each other. Socialize with your co-workers, and you will see that work is accomplished accordingly. 

9. Simple exercises can do the trick.

Keeping yourself busy is helpful but staying active is another way to keep you awake. Simple exercises like walking or stretching can keep your blood pumping. When your body is awake, your mind is too. So doing a few simple exercises will keep you up all night. 

In Closing

Working the night shift is not always easy, but there are ways to keep you alert and ready. Do your research, too; you may find other ways to help you survive the night shift that is not included in our list. It will help you prepare and take care of yourself better. 


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