Needing more sleep or better sleep as a nightshift nurse? I have been a night shift nurse for two years. I started working 8 hr shifts and recently started 12 hrs shifts (3 – 4 days a week). With a family, friends and work – balancing sleep and sanity is essential. So, I wanted to share my 2 cents of getting a great sleep when you are working nights.
My Getting Ready for Work Routine
I struggled at first when I started working nights. When three months, I had an idea of what I needed to do to prepare for working right before I had to work. My routine went like this working 8hr nights(10:30p-7pm)-
- Stay up til 2 am-3 am the night before I had to work
- Sleep until 11 am-2 pm
- Take a 30 -1 hr nap before my shift
Working 12hr shift nights (7p-730a)
- Stay up til 2 am-3 am the night before I had to work and sleep in as late as possible
- Wake up the at 5:30 pm the latest and eat dinner before my shift
Here are the issues I would have when I would get home after my shift (not always but enough for me to notice)
- sleepy but unable to sleep
- headaches (probably due to lack to good rest)
- waking up multiple times
Must-Have Nightshift Nurse Items
- Blackout curtains
- Sleep mask
- Weighted blanket – this is a game changer for me in addition to all the other tools. I recently added the weighted blanket. With this weighted blanket ( I have 10 lbs blanket & there some formula on what weight to get, but I just got 10 lbs because I would rather start low and move up because that is just me). With this, I do not wake up as much at night.
I have a Fossil watch and I noticed I was not getting enough deep sleep. With this blanket, I am getting more deep sleep, which equals more rested sleep. To say this is a game changer – I am able to stay awake my whole shift without coffee or meds. I feel more rested when I wake up. No headaches. No waking up multiple times.
I still do the same get ready for work routine – nothing has changed about that. My sleep routine –
- Come straight home (unless I need to go to the grocery store for something)
- eat a light breakfast
- take melatonin (if I am not feeling sleepy)
- change into comfortable pj
- make sure black curtains are closed, shut bedroom door, cover with weighted blanket and use sleep mask
I hope this gives you insight on how to get great sleep if you are a nightshift nurse (or work nightshift in general). I have struggled with getting a good night’s sleep for years and with energy. As a person who has hyperthyroidism, this shouldn’t be an issue right. I have talked to my doctors all about this and we have tried several things. Finally, I tried meds to help me at night and it does a little but not as much as I would like (and have others have raved about).
So, what I have stated here has truly helped me tons with rested sleep and energy. Now, I am not saying I am never tried because – life with kids, working and I need to eat better, but I have a better balance. I hope sharing this helps others get better balance too.
If you have any suggestions that have worked for you, please comment below. Or if what I have suggested works, please comment below. And if you have any questions, comment below. Also, check out some of favorite nursing items.