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  • 20 February 2019
  • 7 min read

A midwife's tips on how to survive the night shift

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Do you find yourself battling to stay awake on the night shift? Louisa, a student midwife, has some tips on how to ensure you're as well rested as possible to survive the night shifts.

Play video: Louisa, a student midwife, shares her advice on how to survive the night shifts!

Hey y’all, welcome welcome back to my channel Being Louisa.

So today's video is going to be my top tips for surviving a night shift.

Today's video's also sponsored by - is a website where you can see all things nursing from nursing job pages to nursing content on what to do and how to get into nursing, what nursing school is like, and then they're also making a midwifery section which is expanding with us.

So some of my top tips for a night shift…

Obviously it depends on who you are as a person and what your trust is like anyway, because different trusts allow different things.

Try to nap before your shift

Try and nap during the day of your night shift. For me it’s really hard to do that but I get it done!

Or unless you're like my best friend from secondary school where you can just sleep the whole entire night all right up until like 1:00 2:00 in the afternoon - do that okay, if you like!

But if you’re like me and wake up around 8 o'clock, try have a nap around lunchtime like 12 1ish until about 3/4 depending on where you live and how well you wake up - I need a good couple of hours to get my bearings around me and then also to eat something.

So yeah, it just depends on who you are but try have and nap or a good long sleep right before the night shift.

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Eat a decent meal beforehand

Also eat before your night shift because that’s always fun! We all need food to stay sustained so eat before a shift.

Now this is where some people would disagree with me - I take a full meal for my night shift, like I mean a full-on cooked dinner that I will eat at like 1:00 a.m. or whenever my break is and yes it is usually in the morning time.

That’s just how I am I need to eat and I bring snacks!

My first night shift I kind of went overboard, if I could find the picture I'll insert it here.

But my first night shift I went overboard on how much food that I prepared and brought with me!

However I was like, just because I don’t get time to sit and eat I wanna have snacks so I can snack all the way through the shift.

So I was prepared and I had my fizzy drink as well for the end of my night shift so I could make it home too!

It just depends on who you are and how you are. This leads me on to…

Play video: Louisa shares her tips on how to get through a 12 hour shift.

Coffee - and lots of it

If you're a coffee person, drink!

Get yourself a coffee like have some coffee with you that you like because you might not like hospital coffee or have some energy drinks if you like energy drinks.

I do not like either of those so mine is a fizzy drink I have, that's the only type of caffeine I can really deal with that doesn't put me to sleep.

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Invest in comfortable clothing

And then also have comfortable shoes, of course.

You need them to be as comfortable as possible.

So I would also say we're comfortable underwear, wear nice cotton underwear okay, it's comfortable and it's sensible and there’s more space to move.

Then if you can wear a wireless bra - so I did do that recently, just wearing like just some non-wire bras which at first I was really freaked out by because I'm like, my boobs need support!!

But yeah, wireless bras are just great and really comfortable especially for like a 12 and 1/2 hour shift during your night shift. 

Here's my other blog post on top 10 tips to survive a 12 hour shift, where I have more tips about getting through such a long shift!

Use your breaks wisely

Now, my next advice.

Again it depends on how long your breaks allowed to be and because every trust is different.

Some trusts just have a regular one hour break as if it was a day shift, some trusts will have an hour and a half/ two hours and then if you're lucky you get a 3 hour break which I've got once!

But then again it depends on how busy you are, what ward you're on and then who is there and who is in charge.

But if you're lucky you'll get longer than a regular break, you should get like an hour and a half or two hours.

If you do get longer than a regular break either eat fast and have your nap, or nap and then eat - whatever you decide.

But if you only get you a regular one hour break I say prioritise sleep over food because you can snack whenever but you can't sleep whenever.

You see, you can snack in between seeing women but you can't sleep in between seeing women, so definitely if you don't get an hour break at your night shift only sleep.

Just sleep, have a little nap even if you just nap for half an hour then eat. Or nap for 45 minutes and eat in those last 15 minutes, or just nap for the whole entire hour and then try and sneak in a snack every now and then.

That would just be better I think, but for me personally I do eat for the first bit of my break and then I nap for the rest of it.

That’s just how I am, then I recover and watch a TV show.

Ask if you can change into scrubs as they’re comfortable, if not grab a sheet, grab a pillow get yourself nice and comfortable so you don't wake up with a crick in your neck or a hurt back.

Play video: Louisa shares her favourite parts about being a student midwife.

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Things you should bring with you

Bring a book incase it gets a bit boring.

Bring your phone charger - definitely bring your charger because you might be playing games, watching TV shows - I usually watch a TV show or a movie on my phone sometimes during my break.

So yeah these my top tips I guess, it just depends on who you are and how you are.

I kind of go mute after a certain time! Literally it gets to like 9 o’clock and I get quieter, then it gets to 10 o’clock and I get a bit quieter, it gets to midnight I don't speak unless I have to!

In my head I'm like, I should be in bed trying to restore my energy!

I do it without even realising so yeah, everyone's gonna be different but I hope some of those tips work.

A few extra lil tips...

Try and like do those things, some people like to brush their teeth I don't know how that wakes you up but people like to do that.

I have done it, like I am that person if you need something that something on a different floor I will volunteer and go and I'll go walk them stairs because I don't feel comfortable just going off ward to walk the stairs in the middle of the day over the hospital however if it’s for a reason I will go and walk up stairs and I won't take the lift at night.

Well, I have a couple of times. Walking the stairs definitely helps, doing some exercise.

I will also walk the corridor of the ward by doing squats, I will literally walk a long corridor just to like wake myself up and get some energy going through me.

So those have been my top tips, I hope they help and I hope you like this video!

And in the meantime keep on being you.

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If you're looking to train as a midwife or are looking to find a job as one, here's how to qualify for and find a job as a midwife!

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