The Nightshift Funk

  1. I have been out of school almost a year, however, I am recently new to nightshift as my husband and I have moved and that's what was open on the unit I wanted. I have now worked three nightshifts. I know that's not much, but I have had no problems sleeping when I get off and at night when I am off work also.

    My problem is I feel as though I'm in a fog, just a weird feeling all the time. It's as though my motivation and concentration are decreased. Instead of a lack of sleep, I could easily get an excess of sleep. For example, I did not work last night, so I had sleep from about 8-2:30 when I came home yesterday morning, then went to bed with my husband last night at 10:30 and just got up at 10 am this morning. That's 12 1/2 hours. I've always been an easy sleeper who loves to sleep late, I'm concerned that's a bit excessive.

    How long does it take to adjust to the nightshift, does this funk I am feel I'm in ease up with time? I am enjoying the pace on nights, plus I have time to get some homework done, I'm taking 7 graduate course hours toward my NP. I don't have kids but this shift would also work well for us whenever we do. I just hate feeling so out of it all the time....any suggestions?
    •  
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Blackcat99
    When I first started working nights it took me a few months for my body to get used to it. However, I still have times when I am in a "fog" and "out of it." I take a caffeine pill before I go to work and it helps me to be more awake and alert. I have an insomnia problem so am very jealous of you getting a 12 hour sleep.
  4. by   Hairstylingnurse
    hey lovern, i just got off of my first set of 1130-7am shift i had 4 in a row and i was on orientation. last night was my last night of orientation. i go back sunday night all on my own. boy am i nervous. any way i was telling the nurses last night and this morning i'm in a major fog. i made a few simple (stupid) mistakes, no med errors but just silly things. so i think what we are experiencing is pretty normal at first and then we will hopefully adjust. on the other hand i'm only going to be doing this 2 days a week now that i'm off orientation so i feel for ya. but 4 nights in a row just wore me out. i'm about 45 minutes from a major nap. all 4 days in a row that i worked i went right to bed(around 1030am) got up with my kids around 4pm and then took a nap from 730-930pm. that and coffee thru out the night really helped me. i really liked the job so if i get used to that scheadule i may take more days. but we just have to let our bodies and minds adjust to our new scheadules. good luck to ya (:stone these little guy's represent exactly how i feel right now :lol_hitti hee-hee)
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    I think a lot depends on how your body is hard-wired.........some people thrive on nights, and others are the early-to-bed-early-to-rise types. (I'm in the middle---I hate early mornings with a purple passion, but I was in a continual fog when I worked noc shift; now I work 11A-7P, which is about as perfect as it gets .)

    It also depends somewhat on your age.........young people tend to do better on nights, but once you get past 40 or so, it gets harder and harder to cope with the constant shifting back and forth, which is what most people do so they can at least have a life on their days off.

    My recommendation to you is to keep to the same schedule as much as possible, even on your nights off, and avoid napping........too much sleep can make you feel as sluggish as too little. Once your body adjusts to the routine, it should be easier to get the right amount of sleep, and then you can play around with the pattern a little so you can have a normal life when you are off work.

    Give it time........three shifts is not long enough to know how well you will do on nights. Good luck to you.
  6. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I agree with the previous post - it's probably how you are 'hard-wired'.

    I'm a night person, always have been. Throughout H.S., I stayed up till 3am or so, and slept through the first half of school. Then I went into the NAVY (stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself) and found out that everybody that thinks they are somebody goes home at 430p and the best time to work is sometime after that.

    I've been as an RN for 13 yrs and have worked all but 2.5 of those on nights. More pay, Few docs, no meals, no routine procedures, no sched surgeries, no administration, fewer orders to take off. What's not to like?

    You will get used to it. I'm not sure if I could work nights if all I could do is 'get used to it'. I thrive on it. Very rarely do I "shift" back to being a day person when I'm off work. During school days for my kids, I sleep when they are at school, so I'm up from the time they get out of school till I take them back. When school is out, the boys tend to live a modified schedule that more aligns to mine - they stay awake until 1-2am and sleep in till 11am (but that's a teenage boy think, I think).

    And you are right in that working nights makes managing kids better. My ex and I have a perfect setup where there is always a parent available 24/7 for the kids. But, to the extent it makes parenting better because you can both work f/t without daycare and there is always a parent available, it stresses relationships because it means you are, more often than not, working opposite each other and therefore, not spending much time together (hence the 'ex' part of the above comment).

    It'll get better. Some people find that working out after work helps. And that also helps with the weight gain. Eating at night is not good for you as your body is naturally not metabolizing as much during that time. And eating is a good way to stay awake - so night shift probably does eat much more than day shift.

    I love nights. NO WAY WOULD I WORK DAYS AS A NURSE if I could avoid it. Every time I think of my day shift peers, I wonder "What were they thinking?!"

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  7. by   HillNPStudent
    I really have enjoyed the pace on nights, I feel as though I can stay caught up with the work, not feel so overwhelmed with all the new admits, discharges, procedures, meals, ect. I do fine at work, don't even get sleepy until sometime between 1-4 am when things get slow.

    I just want to be able to switch back to a normal lifestyle with my hubby when I'm off work. I work 3 12's per week, and try to do them together so I can have a good block of time off to be on a "normal" schedule. I just hate the weird, out-of-body foggy feeling, like some sort of daze. Has anyone else been able to flip back to a normal schedule after working their nights?
  8. by   Happy-ER-RN
    I have been on nights for 3 months now and I absolutely hate it, for me the fog just keeps getting worse and worse. I am not a morning person at all, so I thought I would be okay working nights. I miss sunlight, and being able to go to a store if I want, or call a friend and not wonder if they are sleeping.
  9. by   bet0326
    Quote from Happy-ER-RN
    I have been on nights for 3 months now and I absolutely hate it, for me the fog just keeps getting worse and worse. I am not a morning person at all, so I thought I would be okay working nights. I miss sunlight, and being able to go to a store if I want, or call a friend and not wonder if they are sleeping.
    Hi!

    I've been on nights for two months. It's 8 hr. shift so it's five nights a week for me. I have pretty much hit the end of my rope. Instead of getting better it has gotten worse. It is so bad that I spend my whole day dreading going to work. To top it all off, most nights I am all alone in the Bone Marrow unit. I am locked in what I refer to as the bat cave with no human interaction and two very very sick kids. I was precepted on a hem/onc floor on days for a month and then sentenced to the batcave. I love the work but the nights are killing me. Bone marrow is a dream come true but the night shift is slowing ruining my experience. I have reached the point of looking for a new job. A job with 12 hour day shifts.
  10. by   rach_nc_03
    I'm a night person all the way. i remember sneaking out of bed at 11 PM when i was 4 years old to watch star trek reruns. Not once in my life have i *ever* felt happy to be awake before nine am...unless it's because i'm still up from the night before!

    when i worked as a musician, this was pretty great- i could sleep til noon, rehearse for stuff in the late afternoon, then play til 2 or 3 in the morning in whatever gig i was doing. After that, i spent several years in the corporate world. Some of those sucked. when i finally got into higher level positions, i would come in at 9, stay til 7 or so. when i telecommuted, i'd push it to 10 and 8. whenever i worked with someone who was into early morning meetings, i dreaded every moment of my job.

    i got hired for a day/night rotation in this (my first) nursing job. I'm hoping to transition to nights as soon as possible after orientation, which my manager knows. I'd been having some issues with orientation since a couple of weeks back, and she moved me back to days for the remainder of my time because 'new grads always like to hide out on nights'. doesn't seem like hiding out to me- seems like just as much of a butt-kicking as days. but on nights, i get by on one cup of coffee all night, i'm never tired, and i sleep like the dead during daylight hours. when i work days, i need constant caffeine to keep going, and i fight that 'fog' the entire day. i have insomnia at night. i wake up every fifteen minutes or so. i've tried everything from melatonin to benadryl to ambien. if it's daylight out, though, i fall asleep instantly, and stay asleep.

    the other benefit to nights for me is that my fiancee is stationed in asia right now- so our time zones are 13 hours apart, and our schedules match more when i'm on nights!
  11. by   NYCRN05
    Quote from LOVERN
    I have been out of school almost a year, however, I am recently new to nightshift as my husband and I have moved and that's what was open on the unit I wanted. I have now worked three nightshifts. I know that's not much, but I have had no problems sleeping when I get off and at night when I am off work also.

    My problem is I feel as though I'm in a fog, just a weird feeling all the time. It's as though my motivation and concentration are decreased. Instead of a lack of sleep, I could easily get an excess of sleep. For example, I did not work last night, so I had sleep from about 8-2:30 when I came home yesterday morning, then went to bed with my husband last night at 10:30 and just got up at 10 am this morning. That's 12 1/2 hours. I've always been an easy sleeper who loves to sleep late, I'm concerned that's a bit excessive.

    How long does it take to adjust to the nightshift, does this funk I am feel I'm in ease up with time? I am enjoying the pace on nights, plus I have time to get some homework done, I'm taking 7 graduate course hours toward my NP. I don't have kids but this shift would also work well for us whenever we do. I just hate feeling so out of it all the time....any suggestions?

    Thanks for posting this thread LoveRN This is my second week on nights and I've been feeling pretty much the same way. Can't wait to read the reply's!
  12. by   NYCRN05
    Quote from mjlrn97
    I think a lot depends on how your body is hard-wired.........some people thrive on nights, and others are the early-to-bed-early-to-rise types. (I'm in the middle---I hate early mornings with a purple passion, but I was in a continual fog when I worked noc shift; now I work 11A-7P, which is about as perfect as it gets .)

    It also depends somewhat on your age.........young people tend to do better on nights, but once you get past 40 or so, it gets harder and harder to cope with the constant shifting back and forth, which is what most people do so they can at least have a life on their days off.

    My recommendation to you is to keep to the same schedule as much as possible, even on your nights off, and avoid napping........too much sleep can make you feel as sluggish as too little. Once your body adjusts to the routine, it should be easier to get the right amount of sleep, and then you can play around with the pattern a little so you can have a normal life when you are off work.

    Give it time........three shifts is not long enough to know how well you will do on nights. Good luck to you.
    :kiss Thanks so much for this advice.
  13. by   NYCRN05
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I agree with the previous post - it's probably how you are 'hard-wired'.

    I'm a night person, always have been. Throughout H.S., I stayed up till 3am or so, and slept through the first half of school. Then I went into the NAVY (stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself) and found out that everybody that thinks they are somebody goes home at 430p and the best time to work is sometime after that.

    I've been as an RN for 13 yrs and have worked all but 2.5 of those on nights. More pay, Few docs, no meals, no routine procedures, no sched surgeries, no administration, fewer orders to take off. What's not to like?

    You will get used to it. I'm not sure if I could work nights if all I could do is 'get used to it'. I thrive on it. Very rarely do I "shift" back to being a day person when I'm off work. During school days for my kids, I sleep when they are at school, so I'm up from the time they get out of school till I take them back. When school is out, the boys tend to live a modified schedule that more aligns to mine - they stay awake until 1-2am and sleep in till 11am (but that's a teenage boy think, I think).

    And you are right in that working nights makes managing kids better. My ex and I have a perfect setup where there is always a parent available 24/7 for the kids. But, to the extent it makes parenting better because you can both work f/t without daycare and there is always a parent available, it stresses relationships because it means you are, more often than not, working opposite each other and therefore, not spending much time together (hence the 'ex' part of the above comment).

    It'll get better. Some people find that working out after work helps. And that also helps with the weight gain. Eating at night is not good for you as your body is naturally not metabolizing as much during that time. And eating is a good way to stay awake - so night shift probably does eat much more than day shift.

    I love nights. NO WAY WOULD I WORK DAYS AS A NURSE if I could avoid it. Every time I think of my day shift peers, I wonder "What were they thinking?!"

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    AMEN to everything you said!!! As a new orientee I was required to work the first month on days!!! HATED IT!!!!!!! From the moment I walked on the floor I felt I was bombarded with every stimuli known to man kind. Since starting nights (11:30-7:15) I love, love, love the environment. I get to spend time with my kids when they get home from school and when I'm at work, hubby and kids are soundly asleep. I'm still trying to adjust to sleeping during the day, but overall nights are a good thing.
  14. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I can't sleep when I work days. I wake up at 130a, 140a, 210a, 215a, 345a, 350a, 400a, 410a, etc etc - always thinking I overslept and am late.

    I just can't sleep nights. I could probably count on 1 hand the times I've been asleep at 2am in the past year.

    I'm always a little suspicious of people who actually go out during the middle of the day! Don't they know it's hot outside? Don't they know the world at 3pm is crowded w/ other ill-guided souls?

    I'm sorry, if you've never shopped wal-mart at 3am, then you don't know how easy the world actually can be.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.

close