How to Survive Your First NHS Night Shift

The day has finally arrived – your first NHS night shift.

The nerves start to kick in.

Will you be able to handle it? How will you stay awake? What are you supposed to eat?

These are just a few of the questions that start to creep into your head.


If you’re worrying about your first NHS night shift, don’t panic. There’s plenty of people who have been in your shoes and got through it just fine.

So, to help you out, we asked our 149,000 Facebook friends for their best piece of advice for someone who’s about to start their first night shift. Here’s what they said:

“Haribos are a must! Drink plenty water. And prepare for 4am -5am. I feel that taking your break around this time helps.”

“Try and take a nap before you go. Take a snack with you, nothing too heavy and drink lots of water.”

“Keep yourself busy, time will go quicker and a little treat to keep you going.”

Busy nurse

“Get in as early as possible and keep busy, the time will go quicker!”

“After a night shift, sleep for at least 3-4 hours, get up and watch TV or anything you fancy doing. Then have another 3hrs before work again. That works for me.”

“If you struggle to sleep before a night shift, take something like Nightol or Night Nurse to help get you off to sleep. And a tipple before bed is perfectly acceptable as this is your night time!”

Night shift sleep

And the not-so helpful advice:

“Keep buying Lottery tickets. The odds of winning are smaller than a temp getting paid more than you, but you never know.”

“Phone in sick.”


Do you have any more advice for people starting their first NHS night shift? Tell us in the comments.



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