Night shift: Tired all the time ?????

  1. I have been on nights for about 2 months now. I really don't mind working nights, have no trouble staying awake, etc. I just came off of a 3-day stretch, and now have a week off until I have to go back.

    I have now switched back to a "day schedule" so I can be with my family. The first night off, I wasn't able to sleep through the night, so I took a nap during the day. My second night off, I slept a full 8 hours, but still was so tired by 1300, I had to take a nap and ended up sleeping for 5 hours!!

    I'm just wondering why I have been so tired lately. I wasn't like this at first, but now it's been really bad for the last week or so. Is it because I am working more straight shifts than I did when I first started? I hate breaking up my days because I never feel like I have time off, so I am starting to lump my days together so I can have more stretches off.

    I hope I don't feel so tired tomorrow. Is this something I just need to get used to?
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    About TangoLima

    Joined: Oct '07; Posts: 226; Likes: 118


  3. by   mommybess
    Its un-natural to be up all night and then sleep during the day and then switch back to a day schedule. I have this problem too, esp when I've worked something like 3 12's in a row and then 2 days off and then back for 3 more 12 hr shifts.

    I am trying to prepare myself for the exhaustion I will experience next week. I am on my 3rd night of 12 hr shifts, I am on call the 4th night. And since we are housing evacuees from the coast (I am in Central TX) I will probably get called in. Then I am off one night and then back the next day (day hours) for a few hours to do pt call back. Then I go back for 3 more 12 hour shifts.

    Ugh... I am feeling sleepy already.

    I say just nap when you need to and sleep when you can. I once slept 20 hours of of 24 after working 3 12's on 2 off and then 3 12's on.
  4. by   Nurse Salt
    It is not "unnatural" for everyone to be up all night. I have been a night owl my entire life and when I switched to night shift it took me about 3-4 months to adjust completly. I switch back and forth between a day and night schedule and did so even before I was a nurse, life of a bartender . Some weeks I am more tired than others, what I have found to work is exercising regularly, drinking tons of water and going to bed within 1 hour of getting home from work. Good luck and give it some time, night shift is great!
  5. by   flyakite80
    I am worried about this too...I have never worked nights and will be switching over in about 4 weeks, towards the end of my orientation. I have no idea how I'm going to handle it, but I'm a morning person, so I am anticipating a very rough conversion.
  6. by   plaidshirt52
    I just switched to nights 5 weeks ago. I usually work 2 twelve hour shifts, have a day off and then work one more. I like the pace at night, but I also find that I'm tired all the time. I really wonder if it's worth the damage to my health. I'd love to be able to go to sleep within one hour of getting home like one of the posters said, but I'm just not ready to do that. I like the job, but am seriously thinking of quitting and finding a lower-paying day job.
  7. by   flyakite80
    I have to laugh seeing what I posted back in September. I am in my 3rd month of doing nights and it's really not so bad after all. At first I felt nauseous when waking up in the afternoon, but I learned what I could and couldn't eat at 3 a.m. and now it's much better. For example - don't eat spicy pasta or pizza in the middle of the night! Also, I never schedule myself for 3 nights in a row, that would be insane for me. I do 1 on, 1 off, then 2 on and 3 off. Or vice versa - 2 on, 1 off, 1 on, 3 off. The 2 in a row is rough for me, so I couldn't fathom doing 3 in a row, I'd feel horrible. I know people that do it, though.

    Long story short, I have adjusted really well, these past few weeks have been good. It's hard in the beginning, but don't give up to quickly, it takes time.
  8. by   RedhairedNurse
    Yes, tired allllll the time! I like night shift better than day, but on my days off, all I want to do is sleep. I use to be an exercise buff, but I just don't have the desire anymore. I'll honor my contract at my current job and obtain that two yr medsurg background and then will gladly move on to something else, hopefully on day shift. If I continue this for too much longer, I feel like I'll die before I'm 50. I'm just very drained. :grn:
  9. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Quote from plaidshirt52
    I'd love to be able to go to sleep within one hour of getting home like one of the posters said, but I'm just not ready to do that.
    Are you "not ready to do that" because it takes you more time to unwind when you get home, or are you "not ready to do that " because you're doing a dozen other things instead of going to bed? People who work nights have to make sleep a priority and they have to find ways to protect their sleep. These days I only work one night at a time, but back in the days when I worked three or four 12s in a row, there were rules. My family knew that I HAD to get at least 6 1/2 solid hours of sleep and that I was not to be bothered for anything short of the house being on fire, massive amounts of blood or exposed bone. My extended family and friends knew to leave me a voice mail and I'd call them back. The school knew to call my husband at work. When I got home from work at about 0815 I'd have a snack, read the headlines and see the kids off to school and be in bed by 0900. I set the alarm for 1600 but sometimes I'd turn it off and go back to sleep for another 30 minutes. I used room darkening shades, a sleep mask, ear plugs and white noise to ensure that I would sleep. After my last shift I'd nap until noon and then revert to day mode again.

    Research has shown that working two nights at a time is the most difficult pattern to cope with. When you work only one, your body doesn't have time to adjust and then it's over already. When you work three or more, your body shifts its circadian rhythm so that you sleep better during the day. But when you work two, your body can't defend itself. That might be why you're struggling, that and poor sleep hygiene.
  10. by   dabanks
    As 4 me I love the night shift. I had no problems at all when I first started. I do sleep a lot but that doesn't bother me.
  11. by   luckyfortune
    Thanks to all for your suggestions! I'm a new grad RN and will be doing 12 hr. nights in February. I'm starting to worry about my sleep schedules but reading all the stories helped me a lot to feel positive I'm new to this site and it's great to have this forums!
  12. by   emilysmom,RN
    I am a new nurse. I work four 8hr shifts a week that includes everyother weekend. I also worked nites as an aide while in school on the weekends. I also have 2 school aged children. I was doing 3 in a row but found out that it was too hard on me. I would be miserable just thinking about it for the first 2 nites and the 3rd I was not able to be the nurse I want to be, I was too tired and missing little things. I talked to my manager and explained it and she has been allowing me to work 2 and off one then on one or 2.
    I come home eat a little something get a hot bath then into bed usually before 9 and sleep till the kids come home at 4. I try to take a nap or at least lay down around 7pm again. I am still tired some days but has been OK. I would not work 1st shift I do not like that much hustle and bustle and on 2nd I would not be able to see my kids that much. I agree you have to make sleep a priority. THe kids know not to wake me and they are usually pretty good about it. But I know other nurses who have tried nites and they just could not do it. THey would be sick all the time and it was making them miserable so they quit. Now they are not working at all so I guess you have to do what you have to do. Good luck
  13. by   LittleWing21
    I work 12 hr nt shifts, and I hear ya!!! I just did 4 in a row, two off, then 2 more nights. I feel like a Zombie most of the time, but it seems to come in waves. Like I'll have a couple weeks were I'll do ok, but then I start feeling crappy again. I do alot of shifts in a row so that I can fly back home to Mass and see my family. However I may be taking a M-F 7-3 job...won't be able to visit family...but at least I won't feel so yucky!

    PS. I don't mean to scare anyone away from nights. There are plenty of people who don't have this problem at all!!
  14. by   Blakeskm
    I have worked weekend night shift for 5 yrs I have always worked my 3 /12 hr shifts FRI night -Mon morning with just a 2hr nap fri before work and monday after work then jump back into a day schedule but lately I am finding myself way more tired and wanting to lay down at about 10 am after sleeping 8 hrs over night. Any suggestions??