A guide to snooze-sneaking for busy nurses

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Nurses, you might do a lot of questionable things for a nap (we won’t ask), but with a schedule like yours, they sure are difficult to come by.

We think it’s time you had your cake and ate it, too. Here’s how:

1. It’s the weekend and you want to be productive. But you also want to sleep, so you’re torn.

Which is why this is the perfect weekend to get your hair cut (and maybe even colored, if you’re feeling wild)—a “to-do” item you’ve been putting off for weeks and is loosely a matter of personal hygiene, if you think about it. 

But you know what else it is? At least 45 minutes to an hour and a half spent in a chair—time during which any kind of physical movement is actually hazardous. You know, due to the scissors and all. 

Hence, productivity (getting a happy, healthy scalp) meets sleep—and voilà! Multitasking perfected. 

2. So you have an actual social engagement planned, because most of your recent conversations have involved questions about sexual activity and bowel movements with strangers and you felt like it was time. But, once again, you made the rookie mistake of agreeing to a girls’ or boys’ night out after your third cup of coffee at 10am, and now that your shift is coming to an end…

Fear not. If these are non-nurse friends (which they probably are—hence the ability to make plans), then a quick text can likely buy you ample time for napping: 

You: Hey, so excited for tonight! But look—I’ve been elbow deep in bodily fluids all day, so I just need to run home and change super fast before I meet you at the restaurant tonight.

(A few minutes pass where you can see your friend typing, then pausing and typing again.)

Friend: You know, in that case, why don’t we just push dinner back like an hour or two so you have all the time you need to go home and clean up first?

Boom—you’ve just earned yourself one to two additional hours of nap time.


3. You just realized you haven’t had a real home-cooked meal since your pre-nursing school days…roughly five years ago. But (surprise!) you’re tired.


Nurses—it’s time to invite your mom over for dinner.

Why? Because you’ll be hard pressed to find another person in this world who can and will cook a fabulous dinner (just the way you like it—’cuz moms know that kind of stuff), insist on cleaning up and think it’s adorable if you fall asleep during dessert.

And then you can keep the leftovers.

4. You’ve somehow scored a lunch break. Your first thought? What an excellent time for a light snooze! But all that fluorescent hospital lighting and the absence of horizontal lounging space is problematic.

Good thing you brought this:


Nursing students, you’re in luck too:


Group project? More like “I’ll pretend to brainstorm in a self-contained environment while I actually nap.”

P.S.: This is actually called an “ostrich pillow,” and we won’t judge you if you purchase one.

5. You’re coming off a long shift, and because life isn’t fair, the kids are just getting out of school. Sleep is desperately needed, but you’re a huge proponent of family time. Plus, your little ones have somehow consumed an inordinate amount of sugar in your absence….

Which is why “hide-and-seek” is every parent’s gift from the children’s game gods.

Instead of letting little Tom and Sally win like you usually do during Monopoly, you bring your absolute A game, complete with camouflage and strategic diversions. If it takes them 30 minutes to find you (what locked door?), then you can consider that a blissful 30 minutes of nap time won.

While we think these ideas are brilliant, we realize we haven’t covered everything. Which is why you’re going to share your own tips and tricks with us in the comments section below…right?

And for more helpful tips, please make sure to check out our Nurse’s Survival Guide.

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