Can't sleep anymore!

  1. I'm extremely frustrated right now. I have been working night shift (11-7) for almost a year now, and I've never had problems sleeping during the day, until now. I generally go to bed around 8 am, and I was able to sleep until at least 3 pm, most of the time I would sleep until 4ish.

    Well for the past couple of nights I've worked, I come home in the morning and go to bed at the same time I always do, and I pass right out... but the problem is, I can't stay asleep! I keep waking up around 11am. I try to fall back asleep and I can't. I can't figure out why all of the sudden I can't sleep during the day. I haven't changed anything.. I don't drink caffeine at night, I sleep with an eye mask and a fan in the background. I should mention that this past week I had 4 nights off in a row, in which I reverted back to sleeping at night, but I'm not sure that would be the reason I can't sleep much now.

    I worked last night, fell asleep around 8 this morning, woke up at 11 and now I can't go back to sleep I'm really at a loss of what to do. Any advice would be appreciated!
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    About DreamyEyes

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 474; Likes: 158
    Licensed Practical Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   brownbook
    The exact same thing happened to me after 15 years working nights. How old are you? I was about 45. I hated it. I used to be the best sleeper, I LOVED to sleep!!!!

    For me it was the sudden start of what has turned out to be chronic insomnia. I switched to days, no effect, still slept 2 - 4 hours. I tried every sleeping pill, none worked, or gave me a horrible groggy feeling the next day.

    After many years of suffering, I finally, gradually, realized I often felt just fine after maybe 4 hours of sleep. And conversely if I sometimes slept 6 - 8 hours it was not unusual for me to feel lousy sleepy "yucky" that day!

    I learned to stop looking at the clock, stopped counting the hours. I just go by how I feel the next day.

    However, even saying that, I can and do still get really annoyed, cranky, when I have 3 - 4 nights in a row of really bad sleep.
  4. by   Whispera
    I think your 4 nights off, when you slept at night, reset your sleep-clock, and it's likely you'll get back to your normal sleep-habit sooner rather than later.

    Working night shift, and especially working night along with other shifts at times, is notorious for messing with a person's sleep cycle...
  5. by   Tait
    My mom gave me some great advice regarding insomnia. Even if you can't sleep, stay in bed and keep your eyes closed. She read a study that stated even though you aren't asleep, the act of resting can be nearly as beneficial. I used this a lot while I was working and pregnant. Since I was having a very hard time sleeping it helped make me feel functional in the morning.
  6. by   VickyRN
    I slept fine on days while working nightshift until I hit perimenopause. The drastic hormonal changes really interfered with my ability to sleep soundly during the day. My solution was to quit working nightshift fulltime I still occasionally work a nightshift here and there and still cannot sleep much during the day. Like you, I fall asleep without any difficulty around 8 AM, but wake up ~ 11 AM.
  7. by   kessadawn
    I have been a nightshifter for 20 years, I never had a problem sleeping. Ever. I slipped easily back and forth between a dayshifter schedule on my days off and sleeping all days when I worked. Until several weeks ago. I, like you, fall asleep easily, but 3 hours later, I am up, end of story. It is so frustrating. I have a 75 minute commute one way, and I have recently had to start pulling over and taking power naps just to get home safely in the morning. Once a large, dirty, toothless man beat on my window and asked me if I was dead. End of nap. I have noticed that the less I sleep, the more anxious I get about not sleeping, the less sleep I's a vicious circle. Afew things have helped, like cutting out caffiene and really making myself stay in bed when I wake up at noon. I have heard that melatonin would help, anyone have experience with melatonin?
  8. by   montecarlo64
    I am also a chronic insomniac! No caffeine..I have a usual bedtime, but I still wake up after about 3 or 4 hours. I do take a sleep aide IF I have had less than 3 hours sleep AND I have at least 4 hours before I have to get back up. I take it as only last resort, but even though it may only give me another 2 or 3 hours, it seems to be very restful sleep. I went many years without the medication and the sleep deprivation was very toxic to my body after time. Even though I still have sleepless nights, the nights that I do get good rest kind of even out with the bad & I feel so much better overall! Good luck
  9. by   KarmaComesAround
    I know exactly how you feel. So glad to see this post. I have been having the same problem. I cannot sleep long at all when I am working. On my nights off, I try to switch back to "normal" sleep schedule, and I cannot get a good night's sleep. Day or night does not matter=not enough good sleep. I feel irritable, tired, stressed, just not good at all. I have been on nights for years with no difficulty, but now I think it is time to maybe go back to day shift. I like nights when at work, and my night shift crew I work with is great, but feeling like this is not worth it any longer. I have the black out curtains, fan to cut out noise, relax before bed, hot shower then bath, no caffeine after about 2am when working...nothing works. I do not want to resort to medication to sleep if at all possible. It is frustrating to feel so tired, but cannot sleep...and I have always been a great sleeper....could sleep day or night for hours and hours....and hours.

    Wishing you the best! Hope it gets better, and you can find a way to get your sleep.
  10. by   RN4NICU
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has been through this. I worked night shift for 10 years - LOVED IT. Then, one day, it was like someone flipped a switch. I would get in bed by about 8 am and would wake up about 11 am and could not get back to sleep. I tried everything - cool, dark room, white noise, no caffeine, not eating too late in the shift - nothing worked. That was 5 years ago. I was never able to turn my body back around to be able to make it through night shift again. I continued on day shift for a while and then finally left the NICU to become an FNP.
  11. by   ellen 12
    Quote from kessadawn
    . I have heard that melatonin would help, anyone have experience with melatonin?
    I take melatonin after a night shift, prescribed by my doctor. I works wonderfully, though I take half the recommended dose.
  12. by   xstarsfallingx
    I have the same problem as you, but only on the opposite spectrum. I have been on nights for almost 2 years now and suddenly I cannot sleep at a decent hour on my nights off. I usually work two in a row and then have 2-4 nights off, so I try to go back to a day schedule. I simply cannot fall asleep despite being tired. If I stay awake until 2am then forget it...I get a second wind and I am subsequently up until at least 5.

    I just bought melatonin yesterday and took it for the first time last night: 3mg about 30min before bed. I was already a bit sleepy, but by the time I climbed into bed I fell asleep faster than I have in months (I usually lay in bed for 30min or so before actually falling asleep). I slept from midnight to 0600, woke up to my alarm to go cycling, and was awake and ready to go.

    Obviously I will need a few more nights to truly speak on its efficacy, but my coworkers use it as well for sleeing during the day and they swear by it.
  13. by   DreamyEyes
    Thanks for everyone's replies so far.

    I am hoping that having the 4 nights off and sleeping at night during that time is what messed my body up. I'm only 24, so I know its not an age thing.

    I work again tonight, so we'll see how much sleep I get tomorrow. I actually just woke up from a 2 hour nap- but I really don't want to split my sleep up like this all the time, I had a good routine going on for awhile.

    I may try going to bed later in the morning...around 9 or 10, and seeing if that helps.
  14. by   IdrilRN
    I haven't slept for anything the last few days because of the heat wave here in the eastern US. Been waking up about 1pm and not being able to get back to sleep. Today was cooler, so sleep was better.
    Tomorrow have stuff to do, thank goodness I have no work for two nights. Sleeping in the dark, there is nothing like it!