Help! How do you stay awake on drive home after night shift?? - page 2

Hi, I started as a new RN 10 months ago, rotating 12 hour day and 12 hour night shifts (4 week rotations) in a busy metropolitan icu. I actually like rotating days/nights and think it has been... Read More

  1. by   Jamesdotter
    When I worked nights, my commute was about half of what yours is.

    After dozing off and bumping the back of a Pepsi truck(!) hard enough to dent a fender, I started to take another route home--one where I had to stop for lights and stop signs frequently. That worked for me.

    When I could, I car-pooled. Having someone to talk to helped.
  2. by   xenogenetic
    Pick any CD of David Hasslehoff and play it on your way home. The resulting thoughts of suicide should keep you up long enough to reach home. Then have an exorcism to totally rid yourself of the lingering skwish nut jeaned nightmares of David that you might have. WARNING: Pregnant woman should not try this as it often produces children that wear fingerless gloves and lip sync to groups of people that contain 2 or more Germans.
  3. by   wooh
    Drink and snack on the way home. 50-60 minute drive for me. I used to work 10 minutes from home, never had a problem because I don't get sleepy at work. I have had some scary rides home since the new far away job. If I have to, I stop and get gas, get out of the car and walk around it, whatever it takes. (Took me 2 hours to get home one day with all the stops I made!) I won't nap though, I think I'd have to bring a change of clothes so I could sleep the whole day in the car then! But long walk to the parking lot, then drinking water all the way home, and snacking if I need to. Stop for some BK hash browns to nibble on if I need an extra stop and extra snack. Stop for gas. Stop to check the tires. Some days I'm energetic though and music's enough for me.
  4. by   wooh
    Quote from xenogenetic
    Pick any CD of David Hasslehoff and play it on your way home. The resulting thoughts of suicide should keep you up long enough to reach home. Then have an exorcism to totally rid yourself of the lingering skwish nut jeaned nightmares of David that you might have. WARNING: Pregnant woman should not try this as it often produces children that wear fingerless gloves and lip sync to groups of people that contain 2 or more Germans.
    That would make me run off a bridge on purpose just to break the cd player!
  5. by   goats'r'us
    maybe you need to call someone on your way home, i know that helps me. only do it if you have hands free of course, but i found it really helped to actually talk to someone, rather than singing, because my mind had to work a little bit harder to respond to them. it was great to debrief after a bad shift, but i usually ended up detailing my funniest/most annoying/most labour-intensive patient, becaue that usually made me laugh, and the laughing helps fight sleep too.
    the other suggestion i have is to eat an apple on the way home. apples are known to wake you up better than coffee.
    other than that, i'd suggest a big stretch and yawn, an ice-cold drink, listening to music you normally wouldn't listen to (listening to familiar music can relax you) really loud (i find nirvana's really good, because it's so offensive to your sleepy system), a walk in the cold air, thinking about a brain teaser (once again, keeps your mind active), or, if all else fails, a nap on the side of the road. people might look into your car and laugh at you, but it's better than the alternative. never, ever, underestimate the effect of a 20 minute power-nap.
  6. by   goats'r'us
    someone's post just reminded me of my other never-fail trick. drink a heap of water before you leave work. ever tried to get to sleep when you're dying for a wee?
  7. by   NurseyBaby'05
    I just had this conversation with a co-worker the other day. She swears by lollipops. She has about a forty to fifty minute commute. She said it's either a one lollipop or two lollipop ride depending on how tired she is.

    Me, I just moved ten minutes from work. I acutally had the opposite problem, though. I would hit my second wind and not be able to sleep when I got home when I lived further.
  8. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Quote from goats'r'us
    someone's post just reminded me of my other never-fail trick. drink a heap of water before you leave work. ever tried to get to sleep when you're dying for a wee?
    I do this a lot. My girlfriend always busts my chops though, especially now with being pregnant. She used to do this and wound up with a UTI. Yikes!
  9. by   HARRN2b
    Put a pillow in the backseat. Stop at a busy place and take a nap. Even if you nap for only 15-30 minutes it will help you get home. This is not worth it!!
  10. by   neetnik461
    thanks for the replies!! all of you have made valid, worthy and heartfelt points/comments and i appreciate it. i know i have been irresponsible in my sleepiness/driving and thank the lord that i haven't hurt anyone else or myself. i guess i just tried to convinced myself that my body would "adjust" and things would get better on the drive the more night shift rotations i worked, but that just isn't the case. also, i know of at least a handful of other nurses who experience the same thing i do when driving home from a long night shift. i figured it was the norm and that i would just have to deal with it.

    lastly, i really wanted to stay at the current job for at least 12 months because i don't know how it's going to look to interview for new jobs with just 10 months of experience under my belt. it may come off as "job hopping" or not being committed in some way. all i can hope is that the managers i interview with won't think my sleepiness/driving reason is a line of bull. i also feel guilty because i made a "verbal" or "gentleman's" agreement when hired for 2 years of employment at my current position because they provided me with 6 months of orientation/preceptorship. i hate not being able to keep this commitment, but the inability to work straight days or at least evenings is forcing me to look elsewhere.

    but after all your replies this is my plan.

    • i am going to call my husband on my cell as soon as i feel sleepy and talk to him until i get home (yes, i have a hands-free headset!)

    • if i still feel sleepy even while on the cell, i'm going to pull over and nap for 30 minutes and then try again (i'll bring an alarm clock and pillow with me).

    • i'm going to find a job within 30 minutes of my house (there are actually 5 hospitals within a 30 minute drive). first up is an rn open house on 8/22 at an ltach/rehab hospital that is just 7 minutes away (wouldn't that be nice if it works out!!).

    thanks again for all your replies. you guys are great !!:kiss
  11. by   vamedic4
    [FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Try some ice in the car...once you're feeling "really sleepy"...dump the ice and water down your shirt/in your bra. That'll keep you awake until you get home, I guarantee it.
    I've had to do the same on occasion...but it's down the pants that keeps me awake...and my commute is 26 miles (which can take forever in Dallas traffic).

    Other's ideas are very good as well...find something closer to home, for your own safety.



    Good luck.
    vamedic4
    getting Austin some OJ
  12. by   mtnmom
    I feel your pain. I graduated at age 40 and never could deal with night shift. I would be fine all night and then start to crash & burn during shift change. On the way home I would listen to loud music - really high energy stuff like the Ramones, etc...would sign to Janis Joplin, cold air, cold water on the face, and I still would run off the road. A couple times I would take a catnap after pulling over but then would struggle again.

    Finally enough was enough. Because I live in a rural area I faced a minimum. 45 minute commute, and when I was unable to obtain a day position, I left the facility. Its just not worth it.

    Perhaps get a letter from your doctor about how you are not adjusting to nights...would that help release you from the commitment requirement?
  13. by   neetnik461
    Mtnmom replied:
    Perhaps get a letter from your doctor about how you are not adjusting to nights...would that help release you from the commitment requirement?
    The 2 year "gentleman's agreement" was explained to me by the HR representative but was never once mentioned by the Nurse Manager during my interviews with him, so I don't know how big of an issue (if any) it will be.

    Also, the two facilities I am going to look into first (the LTACH 7 minutes away, and a community hospital 10 minutes away) are both owned by the hospital system I currently work for, so if I can find a suitable job at either facililty it will be an intrasystem transfer. I will still be working for the same hospital system but in a different location. This might help ease the transition!

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