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.
Wife of one and mother of two (twins). Raising a family in the midwest. Lover of Netflix, crime shows and summer. Founder of The Expecting Mamas Network.