My Favorite Items for Blissful Daytime Sleep
(Updated for 2018!)
One of the biggest adjustments after the birth of my twins was going back to work. For many reasons, I had to return to work full-time, which for me is 40 hours/week. I work as a nurse practitioner in a level I trauma center emergency department. Fortunately, this means that there are 24/7 opportunities for me to work. I made the tough decision, after being back for a few months, to switch to permanent night shift staff.
In order to be on your game while at work, especially at night, it is crucial to be well rested before and after your shift. I did a lot of research on how best to execute a quality sleep routine, especially because my babies are home while I sleep (and I cannot be a good mom or a good ER provider if I’m not well rested).
Without further adieu, here are my six MUST HAVES for all night shift workers, but especially moms!
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1 — Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask: A quality sleep mask is essential to restorative sleep during the day. Even if you have blackout curtains, there will inevitably be light that peaks through. This mask is my favorite for many reasons. It is contoured such that you can open your eyes without your eyelids or lashes brushing on any part of the mask. There is an adjustable velcro strap. It comes with a carrying pouch and a bonus pair of foam earplugs! Not to mention, the price is right, it’s highly rated on Amazon.com, and ships in 2 days if you have Amazon Prime. Duh.
2 — Drift to Sleep Ear Plugs: The pair that comes free with the Sleep Mask is great, but they are meant to be disposable. These ear plugs are very similar and even nicer in quality, in my opinion. The box comes with 20 pairs (this could easily be a year’s supply!), a sweet plastic carrying case (perfect if your dog thinks earplugs are snacks), and they are a sweet shade of purple. Also, all the same price and Amazon.com benefits as above!
3 — Marpac Dohm Sound Machine: Confession. I stole this white noise machine from my innocent twin girls. If you sleep in an empty house during the day, you likely do not need this item. However, if you sleep down the hall from one or more enthusiastic, squealing children, then this item is for you! It is a top baby registry item, and the item itself is quite simple. It’s a fan. With a plastic casing over top with different holes in it. You can turn the plastic casing to change the tone of the fan noise.
I wish I had invented this genius product. But alas, here we are. It is crucial to my daytime sleep quality. We’ve taken it with us when staying with the girls in a hotel, which was great for their sleep and also hopefully helped drown out their squeals from other hotel patrons. The company also makes a portable version.
4 — Hydroflask: Many will tell you that aside from sleep, the second most important key to surviving night shift it to stay hydrated (and not just with coffee). This is a no-nonsense water bottle, made of double-wall vacuum insulated stainless seal. The claim is that it keeps your hot liquids hot for 6 hours and cold liquids cold for 24 hours, and I can absolutely vouch for that. It has kept my ice frozen for 24 hours. What??? I get many compliments on this item, multiple times per shift, actually. I got the 40oz version as a gift, and changed out the screw top lid for the straw lid. Bonus, it is quite heavy when full, and as such can serve as a self-defense weapon if necessary.
2018 Update! I still love my hydroflask, however, the latest love of my beverage-delivery life is my YETI mug. This one here on Amazon includes the magnetic slider top (essential). I got the seafoam green because I am #basic and trendy. Unlike the hydroflask, this fits perfectly in my car cupholder so the routine goes a little something like this: 1. make Aeropress coffee at home in YETI. 2. Drive to work and drink the coffee. 3. Get to work, finish the coffee. 4. Rinse out my YETI and fill with ice water, drink. 5. Repeat step 4 until end of shift.
5 — Erin Condren Planner: I may or may not sleep with my planner under my pillow…I’m that girl. What can I say, my husband and I work full time, I have two young children, and I never really know what day it is. My planner continues to save me from the errs of mom brain. I am on my fourth Erin Condren Planner and I’m quite obsessed. The first two I had were Life Planners, which included both monthly and weekly spreads in a coil bound planner book (such an understatement–check out all the details and goodies!). My third planner was a Basic Monthly Planner: a bound book that features monthly spreads only, followed by note pages.
However, after an unfortunate spilled coffee incident, I retired the basic monthly planner and replaced it with a Deluxe Monthly Planner. I certainly favor the Deluxe to the Basic, as it includes a few list pages in between each monthly spread, which is perfect for my style. I no longer need the weekly pages, and I am always working off an ongoing to-do and to-buy list. Furthermore, the covers are customizable and there are so many accessories that will warm your sticker loving heart.
6 — Melatonin: I have absolutely no trouble falling asleep after a night shift. Arguably, it’s the best sleep I get! However, I try my best to take at least a 3-hour nap prior to my first night on, and that can be tough with little ones. I’ve found that low dose Melatonin has been helpful for me to fall asleep quickly and wake without feeling groggy. I will also take a tablet before going to sleep in between night shifts, as sometimes I have trouble sleeping past a certain time. I keep the chewable/dissolve tabs on my nightstand.
Other alternatives to melatonin are valerian root tea and topical magnesium oil. (*Please consult your medical provider before taking any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions or take prescription medications.)
7 — 2018 Bonus! Okay my friends, I have found a holy grail product for moms/shift workers/everyone. In the past 2 years I have entered my 30s, become a mom to twins, and switched to straight overnights. This has not been kind to my skin and the result is undereye bags, dark circles, aaaaand wrinkles. I thought it was just going to have to be that way, until I discovered a plant-based (and evidence-based!) anti-aging skincare line called Nerium. I have been using their night cream (in the morning before I sleep!), face cleanser, and eye serum consistently with amazing results.
The eye serum alone is the equivalent of getting 10 hours of sleep in a bottle. It works right away (due to topical fillers) to decreased fine lines, undereye bags, and lift saggy skin!!!You only need the tiniest bit (my bottle is going on 3 months of twice daily use!) and it works to repair these things over time. Score!
Nerium is a direct sales company, meaning you must purchase from a brand partner. I am a new brand partner, and I would love to tell you more about Nerium products and help you pick out a regimen that’s perfect for you! You can browse the website here, but please e-mail me before you order so that I can get you the best price possible!
There you have it! These are the top
6 7 must-haves that I use on an almost daily basis to achieve sanity as a night shift mom. Got a question about working nights or have a tip for quality sleep-life balance? Leave a comment below!
Loved your post. I will be returning to acute care nursing this coming year with a one year old and another on the way. Do you have tips of sleep scheduling/and or baby sitting routines to allow for a decent amount of sleep before and between night shifts?
Hi Kristye, sorry for the delay! I work 2-3 twelve hour shifts (7p-7a) in a row and here’s what I do. First night: babysitter from 11-6pm. Pack my lunch, house chores, grocery shopping, then I take a nap from 2-5p. I get ready for work, husband gets home and relieves babysitter. In between nights, babysitter from 8a-6p, and I sleep from 10-5 after having breakfast and playing with my girls. After my last night, if it’s a weekday I have a babysitter from 8-3 and I get up at 3 so that I can go back to sleep later that night. If it’s the weekend I’ll stay up a bit then take a nap when my kids nap. But I don’t ever sleep later than 3pm so that I can flip back to a day schedule for my days off. I hope this makes sense!!! Let me know if you have other questions XO