Oh hello, it has literally been 4 months since I have had time to sit down and write. To be honest, I don’t even have the time but I slept all day (thanks night shift) and now I’m up at an awkward time unable to really do much. So I set aside the knitting needles, the flash cards on electrolytes & decided to emerge from the depths of nursing school to tend to this little blog. Alex is also crazy busy with her mortgage school stuff & working all the time. I promise we are still alive and we are still here! If you’re reading this, thanks for not leaving us!
Anyway, since my life has been consumed by clinicals and work, what better topic to touch on than night shift life? I have officially made it past my 90 days (yay!) so I basically feel like a pro at night shifts, but really I’m not because like I said I came home this morning and passed out until 8pm which is terrible. Don’t do that if you want to maintain some normalcy with your day life.
If there is one thing I have truly mastered (maybe, sometimes, really depends on how many traumas we got that night) is staying away from the fries, the mac & cheese, the pizza… all the warm, greasy, foods that smell so good at 2am. I type this knowing full well last night I ate some mac & cheese, but I had blood all over my scrubs so whatever. It was that kind of night. Anyway, nothing puts on the pounds that consuming those sodium filled, carb loaded foods that lurk in the cafeteria. Also, can I mention how good Dr.Pepper is at 3am? It’s really good… and also really bad.
I have made a list of some of my favorite go-to snacks & drinks (since anyone who works in the hospital, especially the emergency room doesn’t have even 2 seconds to pee some nights so meals are a thing of dreams). These are not only delicious, but full of healthy nutrients and cure even the worse appetites. Nothing like taking a rectal temperature to have your stomach growl…. -.-
- Fruit, cheese, & whole wheat crackers– Sweet, salty, & wonderful. I seriously eat this every night because the cheese cuts my appetite so fast, the fruit (usually grapes or apples) satisfy my sugar craving but gives me all those good vitamins, & the whole wheat crackers give me that carb loaded energy without the guilt.
- Hummus & pita chips– The hummus does wonders for filling up my stomach fast & holding off hunger for hours! Plus, protein!
- Salad– My favorite combo is romaine lettuce, kale, tomatoes, low fat cheese, green onions, cucumbers, & carrots. I always hold the dressing because that is where the most calories come from!
- Toasted edamame (or any kind of bean)- I love, love, love snacking on these throughout the night. They’re salty, crispy, and the perfect solution to those late night potato chip cravings. I absolutely LOVE eda-zen (which I have found at Target). A 3.5 oz bag usually lasts me 2 or 3 nights.
- Greek yogurt & granola– The key to ensuring you don’t have the sensation that you are starving 6 hours into your 12 hour shift is to eat enough protein filled foods. Greek yogurt usually has around 15g of protein in a standard yogurt cup which means your belly won’t feel neglected. Plus yogurt is GREAT in regulating your stomach especially since switching to night shift almost guarantees an upset stomach and changes in your bowel patterns.
- Coffee– coffee, coffee, coffee. Nothing gives me more life than coffee. I usually always start the night off with a coffee, usually iced with soymilk. If I’m feeling fancy, I buy myself a caramel latte. If I’m feeling extra dragging that night, I will opt for a second cup but I usually stop myself before I start consuming an entire pot. Coffee is a great drink to start off my night but not something I continuously drink throughout the night. Coffee is not my friend after midnight. For some reason, it makes me bloated & my stomach starts to hate me.
- Iced green tea– No, not the sugar filled one you get at Starbucks. I’m talking about brewing your own green tea, sticking it in the refrigerator, & pouring over ice in your to-go cup from home. You need nothing more than caffeine to fuel your way through a shift, but you don’t need to shock your body by gulping down those energy drinks or double espresso shots. I have found that steadily drinking green tea throughout the night has kept me alert and oriented and best of all, not bloated!
- Water– It is so, so, so important to keep yourself hydrated while you work especially if you are consuming caffeine which ironically can dehydrate your body. If you are able to step away and take a pee break, water does a great job giving you that urge to pee which usually helps a person stay awake. If you aren’t able to step away as often as you like, then you may not want to drink TOO much. However, always choose water over any other liquid. I tried Gatorade one night, but eventually the sugar made me feel sick, not to mention all those empty calories. (I am a huge fan of Gatorade though when I am sick or feeling dizzy! Yay electrolytes!)
The key I have found is to snack smartly. If you are able to sit down and have a meal, then stay away from the snacking because that could introduce those extra calories. However, as mentioned before, if you struggle to find a second to breathe for yourself, snacking is the only way you will survive. For those extra long nights, I often sneak a couple chocolates into my scrub pockets for that little sugar boost!
Do you have any favorite night shift yummys you would like to share? Comment below!