Graveyard Shift - page 2

Does anyone have any suggestions on staying awake during 3rd shift. I normally work 2nd, but have been scheduled to work 1 night 11-7 for tomorrow night. I am the type of person that needs a lot of... Read More

  1. by   nurseangel78
    Thanks for all the advice and posts. I MADE it! I had mountain dew (as someone suggested), took some magazines, but didn't really get the chance to look at them. I was pretty busy from about 3:30 on. I talked with some co-workers also to try to stay awake, and when 7am rolled around, it still felt like about 4am. I think I will stick to 2nd shift though, because I can easily see how you could get burnt out quick on the graveyard. I really commend all the nurses that work it.
  2. by   flashpoint
    Quote from Undecided7
    Does anyone else think it's sad that we have to regulate our days and nights with drugs? (stimulents- yes that includes caffeine, antihistamines, sleeping pills, ETOH, etc) I have been working the 7p-7:30ish shift for a few years now and it isn't any better. What's even worse is usually my nights are split (even though I request them together) because of unit "needs". My sleep problems have been so bad that my doctor put me on a new drug for "shift work sleep disorder"- called Provigil (it's about $10 a pill). The problem is that I take it in the AM some days and the PM on others- sometimes 12 hours apart, sometimes 24 hours (depending on my insane schedule- or lack therof). Does anyone else think we should get workers comp for this? I've heard working nights can even carry a higher risk of certain kinds of cancers, pre-term labor, and miscarrages (maybe all the coffee??) I get $2.00/hr more for working this crazy shift. I'm a "night" person, but I have to admit, it takes it's toll.
    This is something that everyone who went to nursing school should have anticipated might happen. Sure, nights are less than ideal for some people, but someone has to work them. I know that working nights can really take its toll on people, but they are a very necessary evil!
  3. by   Bipley
    Quote from Undecided7
    Does anyone else think we should get workers comp for this? I've heard working nights can even carry a higher risk of certain kinds of cancers, pre-term labor, and miscarrages (maybe all the coffee??) I get $2.00/hr more for working this crazy shift. I'm a "night" person, but I have to admit, it takes it's toll.
    Get Worker's Comp for working? LOL

    What is the shift differential for?
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Undecided7
    Does anyone else think it's sad that we have to regulate our days and nights with drugs?
    Yes, it is sad.

    However, our natural circadian rhythms cause us to want to be awake during the day and sleep during the night. When one has to work graveyard shifts, it involves a disharmonious breaking of these natural circadian rhythms, often with the help of caffeine, alcohol, speed, and other chemicals.
  5. by   sweetpea839
    I have worked nights (12 hours) for about 2 years now. It is not bad at all, but now all my days off are spent staying awake at night. I got so used to working nights that i am now mutated into some kind of night dwelling creature. That's ok, there are lots of good info-mercials on at that odd hour.

    Actually, I have found that if you are going to go the coffee route, you should definitely keep drinking it throughout the night and not just drink one cup, because the low after the coffee makes you sleepy.

    I have also found that on nights when I am really tired and coffee just doesn't seem to help, my tiredness seems to come from dehydration. I go to the break room and drink a few glasses of water, that boosts me up for that extra few needed hours. Probably because coffee is very dehydrating.

    Also, some people try to use vitamin supplements. I have found that that doesn't work for me and just makes my stomach hurt. Just make sure you have adequate rest, eat a good meal before you start, have a few healthy small snacks during the night, and drink coffee or drink water !:smackingf
  6. by   Bipley
    Quote from sweetpea839
    I have also found that on nights when I am really tired and coffee just doesn't seem to help, my tiredness seems to come from dehydration. I go to the break room and drink a few glasses of water, that boosts me up for that extra few needed hours. Probably because coffee is very dehydrating.
    That is a great point! I'll remember this for future times, thanks!
  7. by   sphinx
    The coffee thing is hard for me, because if I drink it (or any caffeine) past a certain hour it really affects my daytime sleep. That's my real problem....I sleep so poorly during the day that I am exhausted all the time, and even my nights off, I spend all the time sleeping to "catch up". To help stay awake during the wee hours of 3-5 I try to keep warm, usually I grab a blanket out of the warmer and/or have a decaf tea. That helps some. We also do our am labs at 4, so that helps a bit, but frankly with only 2 patients, that doesn't take long......so I always make sure I plan on turning my patient at that time as well, plus do my mid-shift assessment, and help others if they need it helps keep me awake.

    Nevertheless, even if I stay awake, by the time I hit the car I am always terrified I'm going to fall sleep. Then I get home and drag myself up the stairs to bed, and usually drop right off to sleep. But I sleep so lightly it is not quality sleep at all. Dark room, quiet house, ringer on the phone truned off....nothing helps. My kids are teens so I don't have to be up early, but all that means is I lay in bed tossing and turning longer, not to mention my bladder waking me up several times. And unfortunately, the insomnia trick of getting up for a bit and reading or whatever doesn't work for me on days....the bright light hits my eyes and I'm a goner!
  8. by   nursechick182
    I have been working 12 hour night shifts in the hospital for almost 4 years now, and I have never had coffee EVER! I refuse to drink it because my stomach is so sensitive and I don't want to become a starbucks addict!! I will drink some hot tea around 3 or 4 am if I am feeling really bad though. I try to stay busy and engaging in conversations with your coworkers when you aren't busy helps. I also try to sleep as much as I can on my days off and try to nap before my first night on. I have a long commute home and listen to my fav morning show and sometimes have to call my husband just to stay awake in the car (rolling the windows down and blasting a rock CD didn't work for me, I still would have fallen asleep!) It's hard, and if you don't get enough sleep, you feel like you have the flu for sure. I bought this really cool mask from Sharper Image to help me sleep during the day.

    Basically, I just try to engage in stimulating activity the best I can while I am at work!
    Good luck!
  9. by   BigB
    As a four year Graveyard shift worker I can offer some advice. The most important factor for me since I don't drink coffee was to be consistent in my sleeping times. This means staying up very late on my days off. I knew people that would stay up thier first day off AFTER working a graveyard shift. They would they crash at about 9pm that night and resume a daytime awake, nightime sleep pattern until they went back to work and had to reverse there sleeping pattern again. I think doing this, and rotating shifts is really bad on the body.

    Sleeping in the day can be tough as it is loud out there. I have used earplugs and darkened the room with cardboard or blankets hung infront of the window.

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