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This is a discussion on Am I alone, Have I jumped the shark? in General Nursing Discussion, part of General Nursing ... For all of you night shifters out there. For about a year I have been almost all nights. I hated...by anotherone Sep 6, '12For all of you night shifters out there. For about a year I have been almost all nights. I hated days. Too much management, drs, families, pt/ot, pt interactions, feeds, aspiration precautions/observe all meals, admissions and discharges. I hated waking up at 4:30 am. So when there was an opening I went to nights instead of rotating. We get scheduled when there are holes. You can have 4 days off in a row or more or just work one off one, work 3 etc. It barely makes a difference because last few months all I do on days off is sleep. For example: I will work four 12s in a row. GO home fall asleep at 10 am wake up at 7pm and then stay up until 9am as I can't fall asleep any earlier. Maybe even sleep until 6 pm that day or 5pm. i feel sooooooo tired the first day, sometimes first 2, that all I do is sleep then get up super late. Does anyone else do this? Most of the permanent night shifters were I work get up at 12pm even on work days. I have done this when I have to on off days but feel so tired I don't feel safe going out. Or don't think that feeling is worth it. Because of this all I do when I have off is sleep, watch tv, go online and maybe the gym . IF I am working back to back I usually sleep from 9am to 4pm. While on vacation for more than a week, I was forced to change schedules in order to enjoy my trip and because I went with other people. I got up t 5-7 am and fell asleep 11pm. I seemed to have a lot more energy also. i don't know if it is night shift or being tired from work. Since I don't enjoy my days off aside from sleeping I often sign up for OT repeating the whole cycle again. Most of me thinks it is because of night shift since when I switched to days living for a vacation recently I felt alot better and only slept 6-8 hours as opposed to over 12.
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- Sep 6, '12 by jadelpnMaybe an 11a-11p shift would be better?
- Sep 6, '12 by westieluvI have worked night shift for much of my nursing career and I can tell you that it's working nights that's doing this to you mostly. Even if you get the same amount of sleep or more as you do when you work days, your body is fighting staying up all night, because your natural circadian rhythm is telling it to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. If you do this on a contingent or part-time basis it's not as bad, but when you do nights full-time, even three 12 hour shifts a week, it's very hard for your body to adjust to it. You know how when you work nights and around 2-3 AM you start to get really cold and your head feels like it's made of lead, no matter how much sleep you got? That's your body telling you it wants to go to sleep. It's really a mind over matter thing to fight it, but most of us night shifters manage to do it and then go home feeling like we're half dead.
I don't know what advice I would give you. Like you, I hate day shift for all of the same reasons. 3-11 seems like a nice compromise, since you still get to sleep at night but a lot of the craziness of day shift is gone, but only if you work contingent or part-time, otherwise you have no life at all. I think the PP had something about working 11a-11p, although you would still have a lot of the day shift stuff going on. There are some nurses at our facility who work 3p-3a, which sounds like the best compromise I can think of, but that shift is rare.
Good luck, I feel your pain!
- Sep 6, '12 by Good Morning, GilYour sleep schedule is exactly like mine, been doing this for 2 years now. I have tried everything, and it hasn't gotten better. As soon as day shift opens up, I'd jump on it, but it will be a while before it will. It's night shift that's making you feel this way (more than likely at least).
Some people do well with night shift, others don't. And, the workers that said they only sleep a few hours don't require a lot of sleep. Some people require more sleep than others, though only sleeping a few hours has to catch up with them eventually.
If you can't go back to days anytime soon (or don't want to, then you'll have to see if you can adjust your night schedule so that you can have 6 days off in a row. Work 3 on, day off, then 3 more nights. I'm going to do something similar soon so that I can have more energy and not have to be awake all night on days off.
I had just gone on vacation a few weeks ago for 1 week, and I had so much energy, awake all day, felt great. So, I will try to work out a schedule for 6 or 7 days off in a row . Hope you find something that works for you.
- Sep 6, '12 by bagladyrnWhat I have found works for me (after 30+ years on nights) is not to completely "turn around" on days off. When off work I stay up until about 4 am and then sleep until 11 am or noon. This accomodates getting things done that are only available during regular business hours and allows me to catch up with daytime friends but doesn't totally screw up my body rhythms.
I do occasionally get up early if I have plans with a day person, but it's really no different than a day person staying up late on a rare night out.
- Sep 6, '12 by anotheroneThe problem is that unless I work that night, I can 't fall asleep before 10am or later sometimes. The longer that goes by the more difficult it seems to get to fall asleep any time still considered night
- Sep 6, '12 by jdchisolm68It's definitely a fight against your bodies natural instincts. I have my bedroom completely blacked out. That helps me at least get good sleep when I get it.
- Sep 6, '12 by Wild Irish LPNI feel you on this matter, big time...when I started nights (6pm-6:30am) the adjustment was profound....having just come off of day shifts, I had one day to make the adjustment to being a "Day Sleeper"....lets just say those night shifts that followed over the course of a week were miserable, and dangerous....I couldn't find anyway to get a sound sleep, nothing worked....even tried Melatonin and I just became drowsy, but no pay off....the best I got was 2.5h stretches of restless sleep, then I was up for the night....brutal...that week we had a shortage of nurses as well, so being the consumate "team player", I volunteered for 2 extra 12h shifts, bringing my work total up to around 60h in five days....great OT opportunity right?, you bet...but the fact is I was so exhausted and foggy that I made a big med error in my final hours, administering Hydralazine instead of Hydroxzine....to an opiate withdrawl patient who was already on the low side with his BP....yikes...so after 5h of vital checks every 10 minutes the patient was cleared of danger and no harm was done, to him at least...for me I was beyond repair (for the next 72h)....truth is that a fatigued nurse can kill a patient.....so the lesson here is this: baby step into nights, know that it will take at very least a couple weeks to adjust to this sleep schedule and most importantly, never bite off more than you can chew when starting this transition....work your assigned hours only until you adjust, otherwise you can feel like I did that night....and those shoes are sucky ones to fill....Last edit by Wild Irish LPN on Sep 6, '12 : Reason: spelling
- Sep 6, '12 by MomRN0913I worked night shift for 4 years. I lost many days from sleeping. If I dont have to work the night after a shift, I would make myself get up by 1pm and go back to bed around 9-10pm for the night. I did really like the "quietness" of night, no traveling for tests (ICU) unless there was an emergency, I always knew where my charts were, orders weren't being changed every 5 minutes, and of course, all the other stuff you mentioned like PT.
I switched to days because of the toll nightshift was taking on me. The days in an ICU are BUSY. But I felt so much better running around like a chicken with my head cut off for those 12.5 hours and still having about 2 hours of left over energy before I crashed, and I would wake up the next day ready to go. Even my coworkers said I physically looked better after switching to days.
So, you have to decide what's more important to you.
FWIW, 4 12-hour night shifts in a row is too much. Way too taxing. I liked 2 on, 2 off, 1 on, 2 off...... I would somtimes do 3 in a row if I needed a big stretch off. But 4 nights in a row is too much.
- Sep 6, '12 by anotheroneI have been on nights for a year and was a rotator before that. if I am working, i can stay up without a problem, even when I am at home. The issue is that I am so exhausted after working a few shifts in a row that the first day off I sleep sometimes until 6-or 7 pm. Then I can't fall asleep until 11am or so the next day. i waste all my days ( day light time) during my off days. The only solution would be to stay up all day the first day off like a zombie and go to sleep around 8pm and get up at 4am on the rest of my days off? I don't think i can explain this correctly as it is all over the place. What I hate about it is that I feel like I am wasting my life by sleeping the whole day and soon it will be dark from 4pm to 7am.