There are so many amazing things that we get to see and do as emergency physicians.

  • We see sick, undifferentiated patients who need our help acutely.
  • We have cool toys, such as ultrasounds.
  • We get to do great procedures.
  • We work on a shift-based schedule.
  • We work in team-based fashion with fun nurses, technicians, and staff.

However, one major down side is that almost all of us work some night shifts.

Question for the readers 

Let’s say you just finished your shift at 6 am. Your next shift is at 6 am the next day. How do you recover from your night shift?

For me, I try to work 3-4 night shifts in a row and then try to stay up as late as possible after the last shift. Usually, I pass out at 7 pm and wake up at 5 am the next day. I’m good to go.

Other options I’ve heard of include:

  • use of medications such as ambien
  • short nap mid-day after a night shift and then getting 6 hours of sleep at night
  • incorporation of rigorous exercise after your night shift

I’m curious. What do you do?

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD