Until my residency, I had never pulled an all-nighter. Yet here I am, hired on as a new grad night nurse. The second the sun comes up, I usually wake up chipper as can be and after 9PM I am useless. I am now forced to change my biologic nature for nightshift then convert back to day shift for my residency courses.

Somehow, someway I was able to make it through six nightshifts thus far, and even like it! The first thing I did was make sure I slept in on the day of my nightshift. I then do not allow myself to have any coffee this day. I go and exercise to tire myself out, go home take a nap, then get ready for work. At this point, I consume my coffee. Every once in awhile I am unable to nap, so I just rest and watch TV. Even allowing my body to just be still is better than nothing. For my first nightshift I end up staying awake close to 24 hours.

Once my shift begins, I hit the ground running. Because I am in the ICU of Pediatric Heme/Onc, my kiddos are in isolation. This means I have to don full PPE. With this in mind, I stay as long as I can in the patient’s room and cluster their care. During the first six hours of my shift I am pretty busy, and I drink coffee as I go. I don’t hit a wall until around 0300. This is usually when I will take my first of two breaks.

Some nurses take naps on their breaks. I do not. I feel like it only makes me more tired. Instead, I watch Netflix in the break room and snack on veggies if I feel hungry. I also make sure I do not lie down.

By the time I get off, seeing the sun helps keep me awake. To help me stay awake on my commute home, I snack on carrots or celery. Additionally, I do not put on my sunglasses. Doing so can make you want to sleep!

Once I get home, I am wiped. I take a shower and perform my normal sleep hygiene. I end up getting around six hours of deep sleep. Since I started nightshift, I have developed the talent of napping. I was never able to nap until nights. Listen to your body and nap when needed.

If I have a few nightshifts in a row, I repeat the above cycle. But if I have to convert back to day schedule for my residency curriculum days, I will come home from my shift and take a three hour nap, then wake up and get out into the world. Seeing the sun puts me back onto normal schedule. Also, getting out and being productive helps so much. I am then able to fall asleep that night and get a full night’s sleep.

The biggest adjustment for me was getting used to the groggy feeling nightshift leaves. I constantly feel as though my head is in a cloud. I can think straight, I know what I am doing, however it feels fuzzy. Nights are totally doable and you can even live a normal life and convert back to days!




  1. My specialty (tongue in cheek) is sleep deprivation. Wrote two papers on it, for English and again for psychology. Actually, you should put on the sun glasses to reduce the amount of stimulation to the pineal gland, according to research. However … you still have to do what is best fit you. You never get used to it, the best you can do is manage and cope. I found multi vitamin is a good wake up pill because of the vitamin b. After about five hours after taking it, it helps me sleep better. Good luck, sounds like you have figured it out. In about six weeks, you will be as acclimated as you can get.


  2. Laken

    Hi! Loving your posts! I’ve been binge reading them for the last hour O.o
    I really resonated with the expectations after graduation (ace NCLEX, dream job @ children’s hospital, engagement, house). My expectations have been killing my spirit lately and it was a great reminder to let go of expectations -thanks!

    Also, what brand are those pink scrubs?! -super cute


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