NOC shift-how do you arrange your sleep? - page 2

I'm thinking about switching to 12 hour nights from 7p-7a. My question is how do you sleep when you work nights?---I've never worked a night shift before ever. 1. How/when do you sleep when you... Read More

  1. by   sweetpotato
    Well, the one good thing about the night shift for me is that I lost weight. I was simply toooooo tired to eat! I also had a 1.5 yr old and my husband also works 12 hr shift except for 5 days in a row(non-nursing). I had to quit during my last week of orientation because both of us working 12 hr shifts was not working. I tried to sleep when I got home until I had to pick my son up at 1pm. So I would wake up at 1230 to pick him up. Then, I could NOT get back to sleep and I had to leave my house by 5 to get my son to my MIL and then to get to work on time. Even if my husband gets a day time 8 hr shift, I do not think I will do nights again. HOWEVER, the shift differential is also a plus

    OT: I did days during our capstone course and that was also hard. We have come to the conclusion that both of us can't work 12 hrs. One person needs to work 8.
  2. by   RNLauren05
    Quote from Gompers
    Part of the problem, and I'm seeing it here with quite a few people, is that many night shifters wake up way too early. They don't give themselves time to have a real "good nights' sleep" like they should. If you go to bed at 9am, you should aim to sleep until 5pm - a full 8 hours. (Of course, if there are childcare issues, etc. that is different.)

    If you went to bed at 9pm before working day shift, there is no way you'd wake up at 1 or 2am! You'd sleep until at least 4am, probably 5 or so. Those extra few hours make a huge difference. Many of my coworkers who work full-time nights say they feel "bad" about sleeping all day - but they shouldn't!!! If you're working back-to-back 12 hour shifts, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sleeping all day. Day shifters never feel bad about going to bed early and sleeping all night!

    You just need to plan for it, is all. Do all your grocery shopping and errands on days you are off or only work 8 hours. Cook double meals so on the days that you work 12's, there are leftovers that just need to be heated up and your family still gets a home-cooked dinner. Like I said, if there are kids involved that is obviously different, but if you don't HAVE to wake up early and take care of anybody, why not just sleep all day?

    Maybe I'm just a true night owl at heart.
    I only WISH that I could sleep all day. The fact is, that my body just will not sleep. I go to bed around 8:30 or 9am, then I usually wake up at least once around 11 or 12, then I will wake up somewhere between 1:30 and 2pm. At that point, I just don't feel tired and I cannot go back to sleep. Of course, this means at about 2am I am so tired I can barely think straight. I have tried everything, but I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. No one is at home during the day, so it's not that I am being bothered by noise or anything like that. And I have tried just about everything, but nothing seems to work. Ironically enough, when I first started working nights, I had no problems sleeping at all, but now a year and a half in, I am really struggling. I am generally a really good sleeper, but I just think that some people are not programmed to work nights. But I'm sure glad that there are people that like the night shift! :spin:
  3. by   Gompers
    Quote from RNLauren05
    I only WISH that I could sleep all day. The fact is, that my body just will not sleep. I go to bed around 8:30 or 9am, then I usually wake up at least once around 11 or 12, then I will wake up somewhere between 1:30 and 2pm. At that point, I just don't feel tired and I cannot go back to sleep. Of course, this means at about 2am I am so tired I can barely think straight. I have tried everything, but I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. No one is at home during the day, so it's not that I am being bothered by noise or anything like that. And I have tried just about everything, but nothing seems to work. Ironically enough, when I first started working nights, I had no problems sleeping at all, but now a year and a half in, I am really struggling. I am generally a really good sleeper, but I just think that some people are not programmed to work nights. But I'm sure glad that there are people that like the night shift! :spin:
    Well it's one thing if your body won't let you sleep - it's another to wake up that early because you feel guilty about sleeping the day away. It's that guilt that kind of annoys me because there should be no shame in sleeping all day when you work 12 hour nights. To me it really is as silly as a day shifter apologizing for sleeping all night.

    Have you tried going to bed later? I don't go to bed until like 11am usually, so that way I sleep until 4 or 5. That way, in the morning I'm not so exhausted since I've only been up since then, and my "bedtime" isn't until 11 so I'm not falling asleep at work or on the drive home.
  4. by   jansailsea
    When I come home in the morning: shower, brush teeth, put on pjs, a soft, cushioned eye mask, ear plugs, & a fan (pointed away from me) running in the room to block outside noise.
    If I think I'm going to have problems going to or staying asleep, I'll cut a Benadryl in half & take it.
    Doesn't happen more than once a month, so I figure it can't be that damaging.
    Thank goodness, I have no trouble getting deep, restorative sleep.
    The afternoon I'm returning to evening shift, I'll take an hour long nap.
    It seems to get me through the first night back without a problem.
    As long as I get a minimum of 6 hours sleep each work night, I do fine, course- 7 hours is even better!
    I slept today until 3pm on my first day off, & it's 0018 now.
    I'm actually feeling sleepy, ready to hit the hay now.
    Don't have caffeine within 4-5 hours of when you need to sleep.
    Too little sleep wears the body down, scrambles the brain.
    Good luck!

    janet
  5. by   bewell
    i have been working 7p-7a for almost 2 1/2 years. there are perks to working nights. most of the time i dont get enough sleep though. i then try to make up for it on my first day-maybe even second day off. it has been difficult. i am a night owl-when i am doing my own thing. being a night owl and working is a little different. night workers must make sleep a priority and not feel guilty about it. turn ringers off phone, sign on front door (DAY SLEEPER-DO NOT DISTURB), let family/friends know your schedule and best times to call.
    i am now in the process of getting a day job-starting in 2 weeks!!!!!! no more 12 hour shifts either. wish me luck!!
  6. by   truern
    I'm confused....when you work nights you come home and go directly to bed?? Isn't that contrary to what you would do if working days?? I never come home from work and expect to go right to sleep.

    People: the natural progression is sleep, wake up, go to work, return home, do whatever, THEN sleep...shampoo, rinse, repeat
  7. by   BSNtobe2009
    My mom and grandma worked nights. They went to sleep at 8:00 a.m., and got up at 3:00 pm. The both had cellular blinds installed in their bedrooms that are TOTAL light blocking (they have aluminum foil in between and shut the light out completely...you can special order them at HD or Lowes).

    Neither wore earplugs, b/c they though those were dangerous (you need to be able to hear a fire alarm), however, they did have a sleep mate that drowned out all of the background noise in the house.

    If you have children home on the weekends...Dad needs to make good friends with the park. As a child growing up that way, you just learn not to wake mom up and do things like coloring or playing Barbie Dolls by yourself, or other quiet activies until she got up.

    We got into HUGE trouble if we woke her up.
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    Yes, it's not natural, but when the children are at school, that is when the house is the most quiet. My mom and grandma were up in the afternoons to be able to take us to Brownie's, dance class, etc. She had arrangements with other parents that she would drop off, if they could pick up, as my father in the afternoons was usually at the hospital as well.

    We were pretty young when we got left alone, I was about 11 or so. Dinner was made for me already, and I was given strict instructions not to open the door or use the stove (no microwaves back then). We lived in a safe neighborhood, so it was ok.

    When you think about it, it was only about 2 1/2 hours before I had to take myself to bed. My Dad usually got home at 11 or midnight if he was in surgery or something. I didn't "break curfew" on the sleep time very many times before I figured out it just made for a miserable time at school the next day. They always called very often and check on me, and a neighbor was just next door that was always told when I was alone.
  9. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from truern
    I'm confused....when you work nights you come home and go directly to bed?? Isn't that contrary to what you would do if working days?? I never come home from work and expect to go right to sleep.

    People: the natural progression is sleep, wake up, go to work, return home, do whatever, THEN sleep...shampoo, rinse, repeat
    I'm kinda forced into that routine: I have to be up by 2:30 to get child off bus, and really can't go to sleep after that (between him and second child, and having had JUST enough sleep so I can't return to sleep), so I have to get "all" my sleep in asap after work. I get to bed by 9, so I can pull off about 5 hours IF I stay asleep (another problem). I'm up for somewhere between 4-5 hours before I actually START my shift, so being tired enough to climb into bed at the end of the day (18+ hours) isn't a huge problem! Winding down enough to SLEEP, though, on demand, can be.

    Still workin it out!
  10. by   Gompers
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    My mom and grandma worked nights. They went to sleep at 8:00 a.m., and got up at 3:00 pm. The both had cellular blinds installed in their bedrooms that are TOTAL light blocking (they have aluminum foil in between and shut the light out completely...you can special order them at HD or Lowes).

    Neither wore earplugs, b/c they though those were dangerous (you need to be able to hear a fire alarm), however, they did have a sleep mate that drowned out all of the background noise in the house.

    If you have children home on the weekends...Dad needs to make good friends with the park. As a child growing up that way, you just learn not to wake mom up and do things like coloring or playing Barbie Dolls by yourself, or other quiet activies until she got up.

    We got into HUGE trouble if we woke her up.
    It's very important that your family respects your sleep. I'm very lucky that my husband grew up with a mother who was also a night shift nurse (still is - I work with her!). He's known since he was very small that there are people that work in the middle of the night and sleep during the day. He's always been very respectful of my day sleeping and is going to teach the same to our children. The nurses I know at work whose kids are always waking them up seem to be the same ones whose husbands never quite got the whole night shift thing, either. If you don't respect your sleep enough, neither will your family. It's one thing to have to wake up and get the kids from school - it's another to allow your family to constantly wake you up for no good reason. One nurse's husband wakes her up all day long because he "misses" her!!!
  11. by   HappyNurse2005
    I just started nights 2 weeks ago.

    my previous nursing job, i did my day orientation,then did nights 1 week before switching back to days. i was so tired, couldnt sleep during the day, i couldnt stay busy enough to stay awake at night, etc. it sucked.

    now, to switch to the area of nursing i really wanted, i had to go to nights. i was sooo worried about it, but its really not bad at all.

    when i work 7p-7a for 3 nights...

    first day
    wake up 7am(normal time, have to take kids to school)

    sleep after lunch 1230p-330p(when kids get home). this works well,b/c after a midday meal, i always get a little sleepy, so i take advantage of it

    eat dinner 5pm. take nap from 530-6. leave at 615 (of course, i do live 10minutes from work)

    come home in the morning, take kids to school. sleep 845a-330p. window is completely blacked out by a thick blanket, white noise going on. no interruptions. of course, sometimes i have trouble going to sleep, or staying asleep, but even if im not sleeping, i'm laying in bed relaxing to save energy. it sucks when i have to go to the bathroom,so i have to go downstairs into the light and noise.

    it works, though. on my last night, i come home and sleep 830-12 wake up and then carry on a normal day schedule til my next day. its not perfect, i am tired sometimes, but it works.

    it also helps that i really like my job (if you dont liek the job and you aren't crazy about the shift, it'll suck evne more), and that there's always something to do at night. people come in in labor or have babies any hour of the day. procedures are still done (like a cerclage removal at 3am, epidurals whenever needed, deliveries, etc)
  12. by   RNLifesaver
    I worked nights for years and miss it dearly!! I don't think it matters WHEN you sleep, as long as you try for some consistency. I worked 7p-7a and slept when I got home. (Unless I was off the next night, then I would stay up and go to sleep at around 7-8pm. It is an adjustment though! Good luck with it!!
  13. by   25(2)+2
    i have been working nocs for 6 years now. sleeping patterns are the one thing i really hate about it. i usually get home between 8 and 8:30 lye down around 9:00-9:30 and wake up around 12:30- 1:30 stay up anywhere from 5-7 pm and stay in bed till 10 and then get up and ready for work. I went on prn this summer and for the first time in 6 years i really felt well rested. i am back on full time now. on my days off there are times i go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 9 or 10 am. sometimes i wish i never went back to full time.

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