• 25 November 2019
  • 9 min read

How to prepare for and get over a night shift

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

In this video Louisa explains how she prepares for night shifts, how she deals with the challenges of a new routine and how she is beginning to get better at shift work.

Play video: "I wanted to give you some tips and tricks and kind of like what I do to get over a night shift slash prepare for a night shift"

Topics covered in this video:

0.00 Introduction

0.45 Be lazy

2.08 I'm getting better

4.31 Good food and snacks and Dr Pepper

5.55 Getting over your night shift

6.52 Stay awake for as long as possible

0.00 Introduction

Hey, y'all. Welcome all, welcome back to my channel, Being Louisa. So today's video is sponsored by nurses.co.uk. nurses.co.uk are an online website with all things nursing, from job posts to vlog posts and their midwifery section is expanding with us. So today's video is going to be a companion video. So this means it's actually up on my channel over on YouTube at Being Louisa. This video is going to be a sit down version to a day in the life of a student midwife doing night shifts.

So basically I wanted to give you some tips and tricks and kind of like what I do to get over a night shift slash prepare for a night shift. The video that I filmed that's actually over my channel, I had just come in from a night shift and I was about to do another night shift.

0.45 Be lazy

So basically the way it goes, is that if I've got a night shift, I would try and be as lazy as I can all day and then right at the end of the day, or not at the end, but around from 12:00, 1:00 ish in the afternoon I'll try nap. If I can nap from 1:00 till 4:00 and then 4:00 wake up, then I cook do whatever I need to do to get ready and then I I'll get dressed and leave my house around 5:30, six o'clock and then I can go to placement like that. So that's kind of what I do if I haven't had a night shift.

I know a lot of people actually like to go out, so some people do a food shop in the morning, some people will go to the gym, some people like to get really active and then go to sleep and then wake up for the night shift. I don't like to do that because I feel more drained. So I just like to be lazy. Plus I'm not a very social being as we all know. So I like to be very lazy in the morning and then sleep and get ready and go to my night shift.

I will watch TV for maybe about half an hour to an hour, go to sleep for the rest of the day, wake up and because I haven't done anything that day, I will try to revise, or I will try to edit a video, or I will just wake up, eat, get ready and go. So it kind of just depends on how I'm feeling that day but those are generally what I do before and after a night shift.

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2.08 I'm getting better

It's kind of funny because before, you might have heard me say it on my channel that I'm actually bad with night shifts, that I don't like them, that I can't say awake, that I'm just not the greatest. Well, I had two weeks worth of night shifts and I freaking rocked it. I was up, sometimes I was awake during the shift, but I was just like, "I don't know what's going on right now. I feel very blah." But I was still awake, I was still doing what I needed to do and on one of my night shifts, I actually was able to answer loads of questions and stuff for my pad. So my brain was semi functioning so I'm pretty proud of myself. Usually before, I would only go to sleep for three hours slash two hours, depending on when I got home. Basically before, I'd always be up by 12:00 and it was really annoying. I'd have to force myself to sleep around 2:00 ish, just for a quick two hour nap but it was really hard. So before, it was horrible.

When I did my two weeks worth of nights a couple of weeks ago, it was really great because I was sleeping from the moment I got in slash an hour later, all the way up until about 4:00, 4:30, which was amazing. Whereas before, I'd only sleep up until 12:00. Imagine the difference between two to three hours sleep, compared to about five hours sleep. It's such a big difference. I absolutely loved it and I was definitely more functioning, but that was a long process getting to that point. It's taken me since third year. First year I was terrible, definitely up at 12:00. Second year again, I would be up by 12:00 or maybe just before 12:00 and now at first, I think my first couple of nights shifts, that was the same because I wasn't quite used to it and then all of a sudden I was like, "Nope, I am going to sleep for the rest of the day." So it was a lovely surprise when that starting happening.

4.31 Good food and snacks and Dr Pepper

Also what I like to do is make sure I have good food with me and good snacks. So throughout my night shift, I might get peckish sometimes or if ... I don't know if this happens to you, but when I'm bored or when I'm trying to stay awake and I'm not really doing anything, I like to eat. That's just a thing of mine. I don't know why, I like to eat and so I will make sure I have nuts on me or fruit. I tried to stay away from nuts because I'm really scared I'm going to encounter someone with a nut allergy and I've just eaten nuts. It's a massive fear of mine, so I tried to stay away from nuts but if that's all I have then obviously I'll have a almond or whatever nut I have, but I usually have fruit.

So I usually have dried fruit in my bag. So dry apricot or dried mangoes, or raisins. So I have a range of dried fruits in my bag just so it can tide me over, a little bit of natural sugar really does help me like get tied over and I have my 5:00 slash 6:00 AM Dr Pepper with me as well because that gets me through the last little push of my night shift and also half of my journey home which I need, because I fall asleep anywhere once I don't need to use my brain, I'm like, "Okay." Moving transport, I'm out, I am asleep. So that really does help. I'm telling you, having that Dr Pepper helps me. I do Dr Pepper because I love Dr Pepper, if you like Coke or 7 Up, those are good options too. But for me, I don't really like Coke and also, 7 Up doesn't really help as well as Dr Pepper, I love Dr Pepper.

Also if I'm feeling really drained after a night shift, even after I've woken up from my night shift, I have a Supermalt and I, literally last year, no two years ago, would have said that's disgusting, but Supermalt for some reason, really energizes me and I feel like it puts back into me what has been taking out. I feel like all the nutrients that I've lost ... I don't know, it feels really good to me, it just energizes me. I wake up, I drink a Supermalt and I'm like, "Okay, I can set my function now." So that's what I do to try and combat that.

5.55 Getting over your night shift

Now to get over doing night shifts, this is something that I've struggled with. Before, I was fine because I'd only really sleep until 12:00, then I'd probably have a two hour nap around 2:00 to 4:00 and then say I didn't have a night shift, I would be okay and I could just stay awake until about 10:00 ish and then sleep the rest of the night. Now I am finding it so hard and I am still struggling. I'm a couple of weeks off of doing all my nights and I'm still struggling. I will be up. Before, I was up until like 4:00 AM for no reason, I was just up. So I've been kind of struggling coming off the night shifts but I do suggest, try to stay awake as long as possible.

So for me, I've been sleeping until about 12:00, which is so weird for me and also trying to go to uni has been so hard because I've been missing all my alarms but I'm getting better. I woke up early today, early enough to film, so I'm getting somewhere. What I've been trying to do is to make myself go to sleep an hour earlier each time.

6.52 Stay awake for as long as possible

So last night, I went to sleep around a half midnight slash one o'clock, which is an improvement for me. Hopefully by next week, I'll be able to get to bed by 11:00 slash 10:00 and then that way, I can wake up at my normal times because very soon I will be having day shifts. So I need to be able to wake up a super duper early to leave for my day shifts.

But yeah, I would say try and stay awake for as long as possible and then try and go to sleep as early as possible so that you can get back into a good routine. Also, going out does really help but as I said before, I'm not a very social being and I do love being in my house. I'm such a homebody. I love my bed, I love my room, love my TV and it's super cold outside now and I love snow but it's not snowing, it's just cold and I don't like cold without snow.

So for me, I have no reason to go outside but I would suggest to you guys, go outside because that really does help getting fresh air and just seeing, "Okay it's daytime." I know it's getting darker much earlier now which doesn't help, but try go earlier on in the day. So you're like, "Okay, it's day time. This is where you should be awake, not sleeping," and that should help you.

So yeah, so I hope you guys have enjoyed this video and make sure you go over to YouTube to watch the companion day in the life vlog and until next time, keep on being you. If you like this video, give it a thumbs up, comment down below with any questions or suggestions and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly updates. Bye y'all.

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About the author

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.

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About the author

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.

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