6

votes

Preparing for Night Shift? (RN)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 18, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Graduated this month with a BSN and landed my dream job in a surgical/trauma unit BUT it's night shift. I know, I know - all the evidence in the world says night shifts are detrimental to health. However, in reality this is the starting place for most nurses. I promise I'll put in for days, but this is what is ahead for me.

My hours will be three 12hr shifts (7p-7a) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I start in June. What sort of eating and sleeping schedule should I adopt? Should my meal compositions change? Any other advice?

I am just recently venturing back to cutting carbs again (20/70/10), but I'm tolerant to high carbs. I'm guessing VitD3 will come up - I've taken 5000IU daily for over a year now. I'm pretty comfortable with paleo so I feel I can handle experiments.

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Is she an RN? I thought maybe she was a pharmacist or something. I don't follow her very closely but all her "About Me" says is that she's a night shift worker. :/

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:02 PM

I just got a job as a Unit Secretary but also night shift. 11:30pm to 7:30am. I definitely plan on applying for a day or PM shift as soon as it becomes available, but I'm so glad you asked this question.

F0ad82feb85e444aa0dd261e21fa5cbf

(30)

on May 18, 2012
at 05:56 PM

OH wow, I didn't realize she was an RN, much less on the night shift! Thanks for the info!

F0ad82feb85e444aa0dd261e21fa5cbf

(30)

on May 18, 2012
at 05:56 PM

I just finished my first year of nursing school (two year program)...and I have often wondered how night shift and paleo would meld. Thanks for asking the question!

592fdaa77ec6342b736f1d25962aab7f

(547)

on May 18, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Wow! I will do that ASAP. I have a husband and toddler too. Thanks!

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on May 18, 2012
at 04:54 AM

Congrats on your grauation + landing your dream job! :)

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on May 18, 2012
at 04:50 AM

What facilities are there for cooking (if any)? It's got to be a good thing that the days are together and routine, rather than spaced out and variable...

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6 Answers

2
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on May 18, 2012
at 03:40 PM

My girlfriend is an RN - she has been working only the night shift for 3+ years now. What she does (and a lot of the other nurses she works with) is she takes Vit C, Vit B complex, Selenium, Chromium & Vit D before she goes into work - then she takes Vit every few hours while working. This seems to help her maintain her energy while working, she eats paleo. As for sleep she sleeps in a blacked out bedroom - no light sources at all - completely dark and she sleeps well.

1
Medium avatar

(2923)

on May 18, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Check out Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo and see if you can contact her with any questions you still have. She manages to balance full time night shift work, cooking for a husband and 2 kids, and an award winning paleo food blog, all of which she has mentioned a couple times would not have been possible before switching to paleo.

F0ad82feb85e444aa0dd261e21fa5cbf

(30)

on May 18, 2012
at 05:56 PM

OH wow, I didn't realize she was an RN, much less on the night shift! Thanks for the info!

592fdaa77ec6342b736f1d25962aab7f

(547)

on May 18, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Wow! I will do that ASAP. I have a husband and toddler too. Thanks!

A5a835105e726e61d61077e84522a045

(130)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Is she an RN? I thought maybe she was a pharmacist or something. I don't follow her very closely but all her "About Me" says is that she's a night shift worker. :/

0
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on May 18, 2012
at 05:38 PM

How much will your life allow you to switch to a more nocturnal schedule on your days off? Not necessarily identical to your work schedule, but something closer, that will still allow you to do stuff during business hours and have normal schedule social activities while not having to do a complete flip-flop on your days off.

I wasn't able to do that - I only had one night shift a week and two day shifts each week. I also have kids who are home all day and sleep a normal schedule. So it was a constant flip-flop, and I think that's harder on the body than consistency, even if the consistency is night-oriented. Now I'm all on day shift, thank goodness.

Beyond that - blackout curtains, and quiet to the greatest extent possible. I am not a believer in the "you need total darkness to sleep properly" theory, but I do think that it is helpful in this situation. Good climate control for the bedroom helps too, especially since you may have to choose between darkness and airflow. The daytime heat limited my ability to sleep during the day in the summer.

0
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on May 18, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Make sure you take your breaks -- see if you can find a place to grab a 10 minute power nap. They make a HUGE difference, especially when your schedule may result in a sleep deficit.

"A Flinders University study found a 10-minute power nap was overall the most effective nap duration of various power nap lengths they examined (lengths of 0 min, 5 min, 10 min, 20 min, and 30 minutes): the 5-minute nap produced few benefits in comparison with the no-nap control; the 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in all outcome measures (including sleep latency, subjective sleepiness, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance), with some of these benefits maintained for as long as 155 minutes; the 20-minute nap was associated with improvements emerging 35 minutes after napping and lasting up to 125 minutes after napping; and the 30-minute nap produced a period of impaired alertness and performance immediately after napping, indicative of sleep inertia, followed by improvements lasting up to 155 minutes after the nap." Brooks, A; Lack, L (2006). "A brief afternoon nap following nocturnal sleep restriction: Which nap duration is most recuperative?". Sleep 29 (6): 831–40

0
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 18, 2012
at 06:02 AM

melotonin will help you get back on schedule, but I'm not sure how much you'll want to go back to 'normal' on your off days

0
29b2b81e2bea8c58453bce58080ac02e

on May 18, 2012
at 04:20 AM

I work night shifts and I have a really difficult time with my sleep wake cycle scheduling. If you find any tips let me know ;)

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