30 Tips for the Nocturnal Super Heroes (aka Night Shift Nurses)

Night shifts can sound dreary (especially if you’re new to it or it’s your first RN job), but they don’t have to be.  Check out 30 tips below about how you can get through — and hopefully enjoy — those late night / early morning hours.

  1. Plan ahead – Whatever you want to do, schedule it!  Family time? Friend visit?  you time?  Pencil it in.
  2. Group night shifts – It helps to be consistent, even if only a week at a time.
  3. Boundaries – Remind family and friends you work nights, and that day time is for (hopefully un-interrupted!) sleep time.
  4. Exercise – Before you go, try a quick workout, yoga, or meditation.  Stress-relieving and strengthening, exercise can help prevent injuries too.
  5. Eat Healthy – Shift your meals. Eat breakfast in the afternoon, lunch at midnight and dinner in the morning.
  6. Take vitamins – Gummy ones can make you feel like you are having candy – but they’re good for you!
  7. Adjust your internal clock – Stay up the night before with fun activities, then sleep during the day.
  8. Gratitude – Write down one thing you are grateful for.  It’s powerful motivation!
  9. Wear bright colors – Bring the sunshine to your unit by wearing bright colors.
  10. Enjoy the commute – night shift work typically doesn’t include drives during rush hour.  Savor the easy-going commute.
  11. And the sunrise – night shift means a chance to see starry skies and gauzy sunrises.
  12. Bring a positive attitude  – You’re great AND you’re saving the world, one patient at a time. Amazing!
  13. Take breaks – Redefine the break: a quick nap, a walk, music, or a few minutes of stretching can make a difference.
  14. Stay hydrated – Cold beverages, especially water, help to avoid unhealthy snacks and flush out toxins.
  15. Caffeine – Try one less cup of coffee.  How about tea instead of coffee, flavor-infused water instead of soda?  Consider a cut off time when you stop all caffeine.
  16. Productive quiet time – Quiet night shift?  Try organizing cabinets or other work areas; check in with patients; or help a fellow nurse.
  17. Stay on the move – A walk or splash water on your face are great pick-me-ups.
  18. Bright lights – Bright rooms helps you stay alert.
  19. Sunglasses – Sunglasses on your way home can help minimize sun light (which can reset your clock).
  20. You Time – Simple acts of kindness with your loved ones and special trips or events will keep you motivated to work.
  21. Personal Check up – You deserve quality care! See your doctor on a regular basis and don’t cancel appointments.
  22. Natural oils – Peppermint and lemon can keep your mind active. When trying to relax or sleep, try lavender or eucalyptus.
  23. Adjust as you go – night shift isn’t easy.  Give yourself leeway.
  24. SLEEP: Routine – Think toddler-time: bath, book, and bed.
  25. SLEEP: Dark room – Cover your windows with black out curtains or blinds.
  26. SLEEP: Earplugs! – keep them near your bed.
  27. SLEEP: Sleep mask – keep it near your bed.
  28. SLEEP: Nap – Power up when and where you can.
  29. SLEEP: White noise machine – you can find them in stores, via an app, or a loud A/C.
  30. SLEEP – Need we say more?









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