Travel Nurse Perspective: How to sleep during the day when you work night shift

September 05, 2013

Many night shift nurses have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Check out these tips from to help you get a great night (or day’s) sleep:

Create Darkness:
Two great ways to create darkness to help you sleep better during the day are to use sleep masks like this one from Sleep Master, or to create a dark room by using some sort of black-out shade or window covering such as this one by Shift Shade.

Limit Noise:
Turn off your cell phone and any other items that may distract you from sleeping. White noise is useful for some to block out any external noises like the neighbors mowing the lawn or kids playing. Products like this one from Conair help provide soothing sounds to give you better rest – or you can just leave golf on your TV. :)

Herbal Sleep Aids:
An occasional use of sleep aids may help you sleep if you are having trouble on a particular occasion. Get the lightest dose you can and do not use daily. Using sleep aids daily can cause dependency and drowsiness during your shift. Before you take anything, be sure to check with your physician to make sure they’re right for you and there aren’t any contraindications with any prescription medications you are taking.

Other tips:
- Get plenty of regular exercise
- Set a sleep schedule and try to stick to it, even on your days off
- Set regular meal times
- Maintain an effort to get a moderate amount of sun. Sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D
- Maintain a healthy diet

What do you do to ensure a good ‘day’s’ sleep when working nights? Give us your tips in the comments!

As a travel nursing educator, Candy Treft aka Gypsy Nurse, RN has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years. During that time, she has worked up the ranks from CNA to LPN to RN. For nearly nine years, she’s worked as a travel nurse, allowing her to practice and live in 15 states throughout the U.S., and even one year in Germany for the Department of Defense. She regularly shares advice for those interested in travel nurse jobs on her website at: This article was re-published from her site.