Schools Training

Ways for Nurses to Survive the Night Shift

26 JUN 2012
Career Path : Healthcare

Nurses are fully aware that a healthy lifestyle is the key to an energized and productive day. But good habits are tough to maintain when you are called on to the night shift. Although surviving the nocturnal work hours really comes down to getting used to the routine and developing your own vibe, there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve to make the entire process easier.

Vending Vendetta

Of all the things you despise in the world, make sure that vending machines are one of them.  One of the dangers of working the night shift is the temptation to munch on all of those sweet and salty snacks. That is not to say that snacks are a bad thing. In fact, snacks are ideal when working the night shift. But eating candy and salty chips will definitely bring your energy levels down.

The best alternative (and this goes for everyone, not just nurses who work the night shift) is to come to work equipped with enough healthy snacks to get you through the night. Load up on fruit, veggies, nuts, and even throw in a boiled egg or two into the mix. This will help you maintain a steady energy level, which will help stay on top of your game throughout your entire shift.

Hydration Central

One of the things you will hear repeated the most while studying a nursing program is how important it is to drink sufficient amounts of water each day. Not only does it flush out our organs (including our skin!) but it also quenches our thirst enough that we do not give into cravings for other less healthy beverages, like coffee, some teas, or soft drinks.

Now, let us not even pretend that coffee is not a downright savior in the night-shift world. Any student in nursing school will swear by their morning cup of Joe.  But caffeine is a stimulant like any other, so it is crucial that you keep your caffeine intake to a minimum. Although caffeine can lead you down a slippery slope, the worst culprit of all is the energy drink. Do yourself a favor and avoid energy drinks altogether. If you want something slightly sweet and that will give you a boost, stick to athletic drinks or flavoured vitamin water instead. But regardless of any tricks you may have, nothing works better than water. Your body needs to be properly hydrated in order to be alert and aware, so drink up!

Sunrise Snooze

Some night-shift nurses have an easier time than others when it comes to getting settled into a solid sleep schedule. But what is more important than clocking in eight consecutive hours of sleep is playing around with different patterns until you find one that suits you best. Some people function better if they have a few naps rather than one long sleep. Others find it easier to wait a few hours after they get home before sleeping instead of knocking out the second they step in the house. Either way, test yourself out and see what your body responds to. Just make sure you do get enough sleep, and those tired eyes see as little sun as possible.


Visit Mohawk College for more information on how to enroll in a school of nursing.