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9 tips to survive working nightshift

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Working night shift is not for everyone. However, it can be a great opportunity for those who thrive when others are asleep. It’s an excellent way to earn more money and free up your days for other activities. Working nightshift is challenging and requires you to constantly adjust your body clock to stay alert and focused. Working nights has its own set of difficulties and can be physically draining and have a negative impact on your personal life and sleep schedule. That's why we've put together these 12 tips to help you survive working nightshift.

Plan your meals

The best time to eat is when you are actually hungry. Hunger can lead to irritability and fatigue. Working nights can also affect your digestive system, as your stomach takes a longer time to absorb food and break it down. This means you should eat more frequently but smaller portions. Stay away from foods containing high levels of sugar and starch because they increase your blood sugar levels, which can cause you to feel drowsy and tired. Start your day with a healthy meal to keep you going through the night. It is important to maintain a balanced diet while working nights. You should eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, but are low in fat and carbohydrates. You should also include a protein source at every meal.

Adequate sleep before-hand

Working nights can affect your sleep pattern, but you can give your body a head start by sleeping more during the day. This can help you adjust to the shift-work schedule more easily, and you will feel less tired during your shift. In order to adjust to the shift-work schedule, you need to get more sleep during the day. When you start working nights, you should sleep in the next couple of weeks before. At first, you might feel that you don’t need as much sleep, but it’s important to respect your body’s need for sleep and try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day.

Stay hydrated

You should drink at least 3-4 liters of water during your shift to prevent dehydration. Add a splash of lemon juice to add some flavor and to help with digestion. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay hydrated while working night shift, as it flushes out toxins, regulates your blood pressure and maintains blood sugar levels. Water is essential for your body to function. To avoid dehydration, you should drink 1-2 glasses of water about every hour to replace the water lost from your body.

Bring snacks with you to work

You need to stay hydrated and eat frequent small meals during your shift to keep your energy levels high. All nighters are difficult, but impossible with low blood sugar levels. You should have small meals rich in vitamins and minerals throughout your shift. Keep some snacks in your bag or locker at work, such as nuts, granola bars, apples or bananas. Stay away from foods with high sodium levels because they make you thirsty, which can lead to dehydration. Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks because they can make you more anxious, jittery and irritable. A banana is rich in potassium, a mineral essential for balancing sodium in your body, making it a perfect snack for night shift workers.

Learn how to manage insomnia

Insomnia is a common side effect of working at night. You might find it difficult to get to sleep at first, or you might wake up frequently, which can make your shift difficult to handle. To tackle insomnia, you should try to regulate your sleeping pattern before going on the night shift. Make sure you are sleeping in a completely dark room and turn off all electronic devices during the hour before bed. If your bedroom has windows consider getting blackout curtains to prevent letting sunlight into the room while you sleep during daylight hours. You can also get a box fan or download a white noise app on your phone to help drown out any outside noises while you sleep.

Don’t rely on caffeine to stay awake

Caffeine can help you stay awake during your shift, but it will lower your energy levels in the long run. Caffeine might seem like a great way to stay awake during your shift, but it is not a sustainable long-term solution. It can also lead to negative side effects like anxiety, irritability and restlessness. Caffeine can also trick your body into feeling more tired and drowsy than before. It can also lead to dehydration, so it is best to limit caffeine as much as you can during your shift.

Take breaks to exercise and stretch

Working for 12 hours straight without any breaks is not a great idea, especially when most of your time will be spent standing up or walking around. Stretching and doing some quick exercises can help you stay alert and focused throughout your shift. You can make use of your breaks to walk around a bit, stretch, drink plenty of water and eat a snack to stay energized.

Don’t forget to breathe and relax

Working nights is a lot of pressure, and you could be under a lot of stress. You should take some time to relax, close your eyes and breathe deeply to release stress and tension in your body. You should try to make the most of your free time during the day, so try to go out with friends, read, meditate or do something that relaxes you.

Stay motivated and positive

Working nights can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding if you make the most of it. You should try to motivate yourself and stay positive during your shift. You can try to set goals for your shift, write them down and try to achieve them every day.


Working nights can be challenging for everyone, but it can be particularly difficult for those who have not prepared for it properly. You need to be prepared both physically and mentally for this type of shift, and you need to be able to keep yourself motivated throughout the night. These 12 tips can help you survive and thrive during your night shift!

Be sure to check out some of our other travel nurse blogs below.

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