Best energy drink for nurses (for those long shifts)

a group of doctors and nurses in the hallway

Working in the medical sector can be daunting as emergencies don’t only happen during office hours.

Emergencies happen 24/7, and we should be thankful that no matter what, doctors and nurses are always there to help us in times of need.

As a nurse, working through a 12-hour shift, your on your feet most of the time and having to think fast is no joke. Nurses often need all the energy they can get to pull through a long shift at the hospital.

Some nurses find creative ways to get some rest during a shift, others turn to caffeine for some extra energy.

Many nurses grab an energy drink to get some extra energy.

Energy drinks are a good choice for nurses, as not only can they boost physical performance, they can also increase mental alertness – which is of vital importance for medical professionals. 

Also, energy drinks are usually a more affordable option compared to the likes of Starbucks or wherever you get your coffee. Besides, not everyone likes the taste of coffee, but energy drinks taste great.

Get energized and save about $2 in the process compared to getting a coffee?

Count me in on that. 

What to look for in energy drinks

Not all energy drinks are the same despite them usually being similar in terms of ingredients – caffeine, B group vitamins and all too often – sugar.


Caffeine is the main energy-boosting ingredient in energy drinks. The caffeine content differs from one energy drink to another, so always read the label to understand how exactly how strong your energy drink is.  

Caffeine does have lots of beneficial properties for you, but excessive caffeine consumption is best to be avoided.

The FDA recommends a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day.

Personally, I think that’s actually quite a lot.

I prefer my caffeinated beverages, whether we’re talking about tea, coffee or energy drinks, to have between 50 and 100mg of caffeine per serve. That’s a good amount that will give you a nice energy boost, but it’s not so much that you might get the jitters or not be able to think clearly.

Working in a hospital is a serious responsibility, we all want our nurses to be on their A-game and not be so caffeinated that they can hear sounds that only dogs can usually hear. Take it easy on the energy drinks and choose ones that have a sensible amount of caffeine.

50-100mg is a good amount.

Your body’s reaction and tolerance to caffeine also fluctuates and everyone metabolizes caffeine at a different rate. Any tolerance that you build up will be gone once you stop consuming caffeine for a while.

If you need help quitting caffeine, or simply want to dial it back a bit, take a look at my other article that I’ve linked to that covers everything you need to know.


Sugar also gives you an energy boost, but it’s usually short-lived. If you’re familiar with a “sugar-crash”, you can expect it from an energy drink with a crazy amount of sugar on the list of ingredients.

Fortunately, today there are lots of sugar-free alternatives.

Sugar-free energy drinks may or may not be healthier than the regular, sugar-filled versions, depending on who you speak to. But, for my money, nurses should probably consider choosing an energy drink with less or zero sugar to avoid an energy slump in a critical part of a long shift.

Also, if you’re planning to drink energy drinks every day, sugar-free energy drinks are probably the smarter choice.

Other ingredients

Energy drinks usually contain a lot of other ingredients too, like guarana, that adds even more to the caffeine content. Some brands have taurine or BCAAs that can help with physical performance. Others contain ginseng to promote general health, and they almost all contain lots of B group vitamins, which also have a range of benefits.

Depending on what you need, pay close attention to the ingredient label of your choice of energy drink.


Many nurses overlook this factor when choosing an energy drink, but price should factor into our choices.

Logically speaking, why pay more for an energy drink that basically has the same contents as another, less-expensive brand? 

For me, energy drinks that cost more than about $3 are getting into the “expensive” range. When choosing an energy drink, I like to compare prices, the size of the can, caffeine content and the list of other ingredients to pick out the one that works best for me.

What’s the healthiest energy drink for nurses?

Let’s face it, energy drinks aren’t health drinks and can be unhealthy if consumed in excess. 

I would say a healthy energy drink doesn’t necessarily mean one that’s loaded with vitamins, but one that contains little or zero sugar and calories with a sensible amount of caffeine. 

If you’re a healthy adult then consuming energy drinks in moderation shouldn’t not pose any health risks.

Joke: if something goes wrong, at least you’re already in a hospital, right? 

OK, bad joke.

But seriously, unless you’ve got a pre-existing health condition, drinking energy drinks in moderation will be completely fine, especially if the rest of your diet is healthy and balanced.

Best energy drink for an all nighter bang energy
Bang is one of thestrongest energy drinks

What’s the strongest energy drink for nurses?

If you’re looking for a strong energy drink, I would say Bang Energy Drink is right up there, just for the fact that is has 300mg of caffeine.

The strength of energy drinks is measured based on the level of energy they can provide you with, which usually depends on the caffeine content and other ingredients that provide energy.

Yes, there are other energy drinks that have up to 350mg of caffeine per can, but to me that’s just way too excessive.

The recommended daily caffeine intake is 400mg so it’s wise to keep to that amount so that you don’t overdose on caffeine.

Can nurses drink Red Bull energy drink?

Yes, nurses can drink Red Bull energy drink. 

Let’s take a quick look at the contents of Red Bull:

Sugar – 27g

Caffeine – 80mg

Calories – 110 

I personally do not favor Red Bull energy drink just for its high sugar and calories.

Personally, I would recommend nurses choose the sugar-free version of Red Bull to avoid any potential sugar crash during a long shift at the hospital.

Check the price of Red Bull on Amazon.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between Red Bull and Monster, check out my other article where I cover everything you need to know about the two brands in one helpful article.

Other ways nurses can stay energized

• Eat good food

It’s important to start your day with a good breakfast to provide you the energy you need, and you might not have time to have lunch or dinner afterwards – at least you’re not running around with on an empty stomach.

Also, despite the lack of time on certain days, it’s important to refuel with nutritious food. Even if you can’t sit down and have a proper meal, grab a snack to quickly recharge.

• Exercise

Exercising is important, yet is commonly overlooked by many – something that nurses know as well as anyone.

If you can try to integrate at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, you’ll find yourself so much more energized and ready to take on the day.

Exercise also promotes overall well-being. 

a class of yoga exercise
Maybe sign up for a yoga class to reduce stress. 

• Take control

Sometimes you really can’t avoid having to work those long hours or you might find yourself in stressful environments that you can’t escape. But, you can take control of the little things.

For example, invest in good shoes to wear while on dutyNot only will it help you to not tire out as you march around the hospital, it will also make running your duties more enjoyable and comfortable.

• Stay properly hydrated

Energy drinks are great for nurses, but sometimes what you need isn’t a boost of caffeine, but a cup of good old fashioned water.

Dehydration actually can cause you to be lethargic and lose focus.

With patients wellbeing hanging in the balance, we need our nurses to be as alert and focussed as possible, so drink up!

Energy drinks for nurses concentration

The caffeine content in energy drinks not only boosts your energy levels, but also your concentration. This is because the caffeine stimulates your brain to become more alert. 

Energy drinks can help you generate more brain function in a shorter period of time, thus giving you the alertness you need to concentrate on the task at hand.

If you want to read more on how energy drinks can help you concentrate, I have previously written an entire post on it which you might find interesting.

Energy drinks for nurses to stay awake

It’s normal for lots of people to reach for an energy drink when you need a hand to stay awake. A large part of how this works is because caffeine tricks your brain into thinking that you’re more alert than you actually are.

When our adenosine levels drop, it’s time to “sleep”. But, when we consume caffeine we trick our brain into not sleeping, and that’s how we are able to stay awake after drinking energy drinks.

Generally, energy drinks with more caffeine will keep you awake for longer. But, that doesn’t mean you should drink all the caffeine you can get your hands on in one sitting.

For nurses trying to manage fatigue during shift work, it might be a good idea to drink some caffeine at the start of your shift and some more three-quarters through in order for your energy to be sustained.

I would like to mention that although energy drinks can help nurses to stay awake through their shifts, it’s not a sleep-replacement and it’s always best to be well-rested before you begin your shift at the hospital. 

man with headache due to jitters
Energy drinks can have side effects if consumed in excess. 

Can I drink energy drinks without the side effects?

Yes, you can drink energy drinks and not have any side effects, but that depends on the amount that you consume and your body’s tolerance to the ingredients within the energy drink.

A lot of the side effects that you might experience from consuming energy drinks are due to caffeine and sugar.

You might experience jitters, palpitations, restlessness or a sugar-crash.

That’s just another reason to choose a sugar-free energy drink if you have the choice. Fortunately, there are plenty of good sugar-free options available.

In order to minimize the side effects that you might encounter, choose energy drinks with moderate amounts of caffeine and little or no sugar.

Slowly build up your tolerance and then you probably won’t be bothered by any of the side effects anymore.

But be careful as to not overdose and drink way too much just because you don’t feel any side effects. Remember, energy drinks are potential dangerous in large doses and moderation is key.

Can I drink energy drinks on a daily basis?

Yes, you can drink energy drinks on a daily basis

Your choice of energy drink influences the long term health effects that you might expect.

Let’s say you drink energy drinks that are high in sugar on a daily basis. Well, you’re bound to not only gain weight, but might also have an increased risk of other serious medical conditions like diabetes or heart diseases.

Therefore, it’s important to choose wisely and understand the contents in your energy drink before you “commit” to drinking an energy drink every day.

Alternatives to energy drinks for nurses

Now, you might not want to have energy drinks all the time, but still need an energy boost. Here are some great alternatives to consider:

1. Coffee & Tea

Coffee and tea are caffeinated beverages which can provide energy and keep you awake.

Coffee has a higher caffeine content than tea. 8 fl.oz of coffee can contain up to 95mg of caffeine as opposed to tea, with only around 26mg.

A Starbucks venti has about 475mg of caffeine, just for you to gauge how much caffeine you’re ingesting.

Remember, the FDA recommends no more than 400mg in an entire day, so you might want to reconsider that option.

4 hands holding colorful juices
DIY your own yummy juice with your fellow nurse colleagues to stay energized.

2. Fresh Juice

Here’s a good option if you’re not a fan of caffeine.

How about juicing up some fruit and vegetables to satisfy your hunger and keep you awake.

Juice contains iron, various vitamins, protein, antioxidants and they often taste sweet and delicious. You won’t feel quite the same boost as you might from drinking an energy drink, but this is a good option from time to time.

Best energy drinks for nurses

Celsius Energy Drink

If you’re looking for a highly caffeinated energy drink, Celsius Energy Drink has 200mg & 300mg versions.

Despite the high amount of caffeine, I like that it’s sugar free, so that’s a plus point for me.

Check the price of Celsius energy drink on Amazon.

Monster Zero Ultra

If you want something with less caffeine, you could check out Monster Zero Ultra.

A 16 fl.oz can contains 160mg of caffeine and zero sugar.

However, don’t confuse this with the “normal” Monster Energy Drink, as that also contains 160mg of caffeine, but has 54g of sugar.


You can check the current price of Monster Zero Ultra on Amazon here.

Guru Energy Drink

Want something with a bit less caffeine?

Guru Energy Drink has 100mg of naturally occurring caffeine, extracted from guarana seeds and green tea leaves.

Guru Energy Drink does contain 21g of sugar though, which is quite a lot, especially if you’re planning on making it a regular habit. However, one every now and again should be just fine.

Check the current price of Guru on Amazon.

REIZE Energy Drink (10 out of 10)

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE is home delivered for your convenience.

Now here’s my all-time favorite energy drink. REIZE contains 50mg of caffeine and zero-sugar, both a win for me.

You might be thinking is 50mg of caffeine enough? Yes it is. In fact, it might be the perfect dose for nurses trying to keep alert while on shift without getting any side effects from too much caffeine.

The caffeine works in combination with taurine, ginseng and B vitamins to give you a perfect energy boost – with no sugar crash.

Another thing that makes REIZE perfect for nurses is the fact that it comes in powder form, in convenient sachets. Keep one in your pocket or bag and mix it fresh when you need a delicious little boost.

It’s perfect with cold water, but it’s incredibly versatile – you can mix it with almost any beverage you like.

No need to leave cans in the staff fridge for other people to steal when you’re not around. REIZE is the nurses energy buddy before, during or after a long shift at the hospital.

Best of all, REIZE only costs about $1 per drink, including shipping right to your door. That’s amazing value for money.

Try REIZE today and you might also find that REIZE is the perfect energy drink for nurses trying to get through a long shift at the hospital.

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Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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