How to Prepare for a 12-Hour Shift

Do you have a 12-hour shift coming up and don’t know how to begin preparing?

Whether you love them or hate them, one thing is for sure: 12-hour shifts make for a long day or night. In this article, we will help walk you through our best tips on how to power through.


Tip 1: Get Enough Sleep the Night Before

Sleep before your shift, no matter if it’s a day shift or a night shift – get in some rest! Getting in a few hours of sleep before you have a long shift can help give you enough energy and brain power to function. According to UCLA Health, if you are unable to get a full rest before a long shift, take a 90-minute nap before to help you stay alert.


Tip 2: Bring Healthy Snacks and Meals

Although it may be tempting and easier to eat unhealthy items from vending machines, grab a soda, or get eat something to give you a quick boost; it is not going to help sustain you for as long as you need it to. Try focus on bringing high-energy snacks that will keep you going instead of dragging you down. Be sure to include a little treat for you to look forward to with your meals.

A few quick and easy snacks we recommend bringing are nuts, protein bars, and fruits.

Tip 3: Stay Hydrated

Drinking your recommended 8 cups of water per day seems like an annoyance, so it’s no surprise that people forget. If staying hydrated is a struggle to remember, take a look at some of our tips:

  • Bringing a water bottle
  • Tracking your water intake
  • Infusing your water
  • Using a hydration multiplier in your water

Tip 4: Stretch Regularly

Stretching will prevent any muscle cramps and prevent long-term muscular issues. Try taking a minute out of every hour to stretch a little bit. You would be surprised how pepped-up you can feel after a bit of stretching/walking.


Tip 5: Dress Comfortably

The last thing you want on your shift is to be uncomfortable. Supportive and well-cushioned shoes are a must have as hard hospital floors can be unforgiving. Compression socks can also help you stay comfortable by improving circulation, minimizing inflammation and muscle pain. Hospitals can be very cold, so it might be wise to bring a light jacket.


Tip 6: Prepare the Day Before

Make sure your bag is packed before your busy morning. Prepping yourself the morning of your shift can be disastrous, and it starts your day off on the wrong foot. You do not want to explain you were busy cooking your lunch the morning of and an accident causes a large backup of traffic. Meal prepping can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money in the long run. Do you ever forget take an important, unique item of work material with you? Place the item, if possible, in or next to your shoes. Now you won’t forget it on your desk!

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