How I Cope On Nights ~ Tips & Tricks

As a student nurse I do the exact same shifts as registered nurses, this includes night shifts.....yep we do 12 hour night shifts. I'm not going to lie to you and say nights are super easy and I've never had a issue with them, they are definitely challenging and take some getting used to. So I thought I would share with you all some tips and tricks I've discovered over my 3 years of placement to help me deal with night shifts!

Prepare Yourself
I've found this one to help sooo much and if you are anything like me, I wake up super early in the morning. A day or two (schedule permitting) before I start nights, I try and stay in bed for as long as I can in the morning, so that I can stay up as late as I can possibly can. You can do it two different ways by having a mid-afternoon nap or you can eat dinner pretty early, have a sleep for a couple of hours and then get up around midnight and stay up for the rest of the night.

Save Coffee and Stay Hydrated
This might sound a bit backwards but save drinking coffee until you really really need it, particularly if you normally drink a fair amount as if you don't, otherwise you'll never feel the effect when you need it the most! I try and drink plenty of water, I use my HydrateM8 water bottle as I find this helps to keep me awake by staying hydrated. I also use flavour drops for the water when I get sick of it, super helpful if you are awful at drinking water during any part of the day. A brand I've found along the way is Stur Drinks, they do a TON of different 'water enhancers' so there is literally something for everyone!!

Eat Proper Meals
I know it's tempting on nights as soo many people bring junk/snacky foods, but try to avoid them and bring proper and healthy meals or snacks with you that will keep you full and keep your blood sugars stable and stop that sugar dip you get after eating sweets and chocolate!

Invest In Darkness
This is really useful, especially if you are a light sleeper like me. Get yourself some eyemasks, earplugs, blackout curtains (I can't wait to get some good ones of these) and make your room as dark and cool as you are happy with. This actually tricks your body into thinking it's nighttime and you end up getting a better sleep.

Get Your Shifts Back To Back
Sometimes this can be easy to do and sometimes it can be pretty difficult, it all depends on how your shift roster is organised. Try and wangle it so that all your night shifts are back to back otherwise you will spend a week completely nocturnal which can make having a social life around night shifts pretty impossible. 

Talk Quietly/Get Up And Walk Around
When fatigue starts to set in, get up and walk around. Get yourself out of that chair and get the blood moving around the body, it will help you wake you up and stop that groggy/nodding dog feeling you tend to get at 4am. Also you're not a lone wolf on nights, so talk quietly to one another and help keep each other awake!

This is an extremely serious one and not one you should ever take lightly!! Whenever I have nights I try and take the train or organise lift shares with my mum's partner who is a permanent night worker so is constantly nocturnal. You do not want to risk getting in a serious accident or near-miss because you are just too tired to be's really not worth it and you actually stay more awake taking public transport!

See you next time....

Nurse. Just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate everything and soft enough to understand everyone.
Danielle Levy


  1. Love this post! I'm a 3rd yr student embarking on my 1st week of nights this placement block. So far I've done very few nights because I've hated the changes to my body clock. I'm definitely going to try your tips, hopefully it'll make next week more bareable.

    Many thanks

    Vicky Beaver
    3rd Yr Adult Nursing

    1. Hope your nights went ok! I've definitely found that practice makes perfect with nights, the more you do them, the more you get into your own little routine. Let me know how you got on! xx