Tips for Working as a Third Shift CNA

Some of the best tips for third shift CNAs include creating a peaceful sleeping environment, planning your meals accordingly and utilizing your time off wisely.
Tips for Working as a Third Shift CNA

Becoming a third shift CNA can be a great choice for people who cannot work during the day due to other obligations. However, night shift work can often be a bit challenging for even the most seasoned nursing aides. So, just what can you do to help yourself adjust to such a schedule? If you are preparing to begin a third shift CNA job, the following tips can help.

Create a Peaceful Sleeping Environment

It can be quite difficult adjusting to daytime sleeping. Nevertheless, it is essential for your health to get about eight hours of restful sleep each day after completing your shift. If you have trouble sleeping unless it is dark, pull all of your curtains shut tightly and consider wearing a sleeping mask.

Normal daytime sounds such as horns honking and children playing outdoors can make it hard to fall asleep during the day as well. If this is the case with you, playing quiet music or running an electric fan, air conditioner or humidifier may help soothe you to sleep. Finally, you may want to consider turning your phone off before going to bed.

Plan Your Meals Accordingly

A common mistake that many nursing aides make when working night shifts is that they continue to eat their light meals in the morning and their large meals in the evening. By eating a large meal in the evening, you may find yourself a bit too sluggish to complete your shift effectively!

On the other hand, if you eat a larger meal in the morning, you will be able to fall asleep easier. As such, plan your meals accordingly if you work third shift. Eat your "breakfast" in the evening before work, eat your "lunch" during your lunch break at work, and eat your "dinner" when you get home from work.

Utilize Your Time Off Wisely

One of the biggest challenges for third shift CNAs is accomplishing personal business on their days off. It seems as if there simply is not enough time for them to do anything besides sleep, eat and work. Fortunately, you can easily resolve this problem by asking your supervisor to schedule your days off consecutively.

In this way, not only can you accomplish everything you need to do on your days off, but you can catch up on much-needed rest as well. Additionally, if you know that your friends or family are planning a special event, be sure to ask your boss for your days off to coincide with the day of the event.

Perform Light Exercise Before Work

It is unfortunate that too many night shift CNAs utilize caffeine substances such as coffee, energy drinks and energy shots to help them stay awake for their shifts. While these types of substances can indeed give you a helpful boost, they can also cause you to "crash" during your shift.

Of course, you do not want this to happen. A healthier way to get your blood pumping and wake your body up for work is to perform light exercise before beginning your shift. Do not choose an exhaustive exercise regime. Spending just 15 minutes per day performing light exercises can help prepare you for your shift's demands.

Pay Attention to Your Health

Lastly, when working the night shift as a CNA, you will want to be sure that you pay attention to your own health as well as that of your patients. What this means is that you need to remember to keep all of your scheduled doctor and dental appointments. If you do not keep yourself healthy, you will not be able to provide quality care to your patients!


Some of the best tips for third shift CNAs include creating a peaceful sleeping environment, planning your meals accordingly and utilizing your time off wisely.

You Might Also Like