How to unwind after work??

  1. This is the first thread I have started so I'm not sure if it is in the right category or not. But, I'm hoping to rely on my friends for some advice.

    I work nights (12 hours). On a good night I can be home by 8:30 a.m. Then, by the time I eat breakfast (supper), get jammies on, check allnurses, etc. it is 9:00 a.m. or so by the time I get in bed.

    My problem is that I have to be up at 2:00 p.m. to get my kids from school. My husband works as a truck driver from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. I have nobody else to get my kids.

    Then, I need to help them with homework, supper, etc. So, I normally do not get to go back to bed before going to work again at 7:00 p.m.

    So, my question is: How do you all unwind after work to get a good nights (or days in my case) sleep. My phones are turned off, so there is no noise. My bedroom is darkened down, so I have no sunlight. But somedays I just can't turn the mind off and go to sleep.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Otherwise, I love this site and all the people I am meeting in cyberspace.

    Thanks for any help.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   mediatix8
    Take a melatonin, found at your local walgreens by the pharmacy section (it's considered a dietary supplement). It puts you to sleep, but doesnt make you groggy all day like, say nyquil or tylenol pm. If you take it as you are on your way home it should kick in by the time you're going to bed. I use it and have had to get up after 5 hours of sleep and you're no more tired than if you didn't take it and only had 5 hours of sleep. Try it out on a day you dont have to work and see how you like it- see how you feel after 5 hours of sleep.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    Couple of suggestions...

    I didn't like to eat right before going to bed when I worked nights. Something about the energy it take to digest interfered with good rest. Can you grab a snack later in your shift so you're not starving when you get home?

    While I am the *last* one to suggest you not get your allnurses fix , again, it may tend to wind you up rather than settle your mind.

    Finally, I love my white noise maker - shuts out everything else, including my brain.

    Is there an area after school program - boys and girls club kind of thing that could keep the kids even an hour longer to get you a smidge more sleep? Or a way to carpool with another Mom? Post at your hospital to try and meet someone in similar straits if you don't know many folks. I don't have to tell you the effect of only getting five hours sleep over several nights.

    Sleep well! Best wishes.
  5. by   fergus51
    I also don't eat before bed, it just cuts down on sleep time. If I'm hungry, I'll have a breakfast bar in the car.

    When I can't get my mind to stop, I put on the CD player. I listen to one song and put it on repeat. I focus on that one song and I forget about everything else and fall asleep. A friend of mine says it's sort of like chanting and it's always worked for me...
  6. by   Thunderwolf
    Finally, I love my white noise maker - shuts out everything else, including my brain.
    My fan works the same way for me.
  7. by   prmenrs
    When sunlight hits your retina, it 'resets' your circadian rhythm (can't spell today). Don't know how long your commute is, but here are my suggestions: put your sunglasses on before you exit the building and keep them on til you're in the house. Eat an apple on the way home--you'll have something light in your stomach, and you won't be hungry. It also requires enough energy to (hopefully) keep you awake for the drive home, which is very important. Go straight to bed. Don't fool around. Into your jammies, and assume the horizontal! Check your eyelids for leaks! Use a white noise if you want, I like 'new age' music (music choice on cable), very low volume, a fan works great. Aim it away from you if it's too cold in the winter.

    If you have to get up @ 2pm for the kids, realize it's 2am for you. If there's an alternative way to get the kids home, that would be a little more sleep for you. A short acting (4hour) anti-histamine like Benedryl or Chlortrimeton can be very helpful. I like taking a Tylenol, too. Things hurt after a 12 hours shift.

    And NO COFFEE after ~ 3 am! :zzzzz :zzzzz :zzzzz
  8. by   NurCrystal22
    Quote from Mediatix8
    Take a melatonin, found at your local walgreens by the pharmacy section (it's considered a dietary supplement). It puts you to sleep, but doesnt make you groggy all day like, say nyquil or tylenol pm. If you take it as you are on your way home it should kick in by the time you're going to bed. I use it and have had to get up after 5 hours of sleep and you're no more tired than if you didn't take it and only had 5 hours of sleep. Try it out on a day you dont have to work and see how you like it- see how you feel after 5 hours of sleep.
    I wouldn't do this if I were you, messing with your bodies natural neurotransmitters is not a good idea, A/P 2. Take a relaxing bath, maybe you NEED noise to distract from your throughts, turn some soft music on... I can't fall asleep without having the sound of a fan, even if it's cold, i love the noise...

    ~Crystal
  9. by   4theBetterGetter
    Benadryl...White noise...Dark room...15-30 min reading. Works for me[ unless it is a really good book] I can get about 5-6 hours sleep a day. Good luck!
  10. by   luvltc
    Thanks for all the advice. I guess I forgot to mention that I do use my ceiling fan at all times, even in the dead of winter here in Michigan.

    My hubby thinks my problem is that I can't "leave work at work". I'm a worrier by nature, so I have a high level of anxiety.

    On days that I do work back-to-back and I do have to be up, I do take Xanax 0.25 mg, but I don't want to get too addicted so I only take it when I really, really need it.

    Again, thanks for the advice. I will try what you all have mentioned.
  11. by   Annor
    Quote from 5scardiacnurse
    This is the first thread I have started so I'm not sure if it is in the right category or not. But, I'm hoping to rely on my friends for some advice.

    I work nights (12 hours). On a good night I can be home by 8:30 a.m. Then, by the time I eat breakfast (supper), get jammies on, check allnurses, etc. it is 9:00 a.m. or so by the time I get in bed.

    My problem is that I have to be up at 2:00 p.m. to get my kids from school. My husband works as a truck driver from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. I have nobody else to get my kids.

    Then, I need to help them with homework, supper, etc. So, I normally do not get to go back to bed before going to work again at 7:00 p.m.

    So, my question is: How do you all unwind after work to get a good nights (or days in my case) sleep. My phones are turned off, so there is no noise. My bedroom is darkened down, so I have no sunlight. But somedays I just can't turn the mind off and go to sleep.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Otherwise, I love this site and all the people I am meeting in cyberspace.

    Thanks for any help.

    glass of wine for me....
  12. by   estrogen
    I also work nights. I tab of max strenght Benadryl, 2 tabs of melatonin and the Travel Channel. 15 minutes and I'm out. The Travel Channel has really great shows on in the morning, like Great Hotels and Passport To Europe. You don't have to follow the story, just enjoy the pictures. It really helps to put me in a good state of mind and to forget about work.
    Last edit by estrogen on Oct 26, '05
  13. by   SarasotaRN2b
    Love this advice! Thanks, prmenrs!

    Quote from prmenrs
    When sunlight hits your retina, it 'resets' your circadian rhythm (can't spell today). Don't know how long your commute is, but here are my suggestions: put your sunglasses on before you exit the building and keep them on til you're in the house. Eat an apple on the way home--you'll have something light in your stomach, and you won't be hungry. It also requires enough energy to (hopefully) keep you awake for the drive home, which is very important. Go straight to bed. Don't fool around. Into your jammies, and assume the horizontal! Check your eyelids for leaks! Use a white noise if you want, I like 'new age' music (music choice on cable), very low volume, a fan works great. Aim it away from you if it's too cold in the winter.

    If you have to get up @ 2pm for the kids, realize it's 2am for you. If there's an alternative way to get the kids home, that would be a little more sleep for you. A short acting (4hour) anti-histamine like Benedryl or Chlortrimeton can be very helpful. I like taking a Tylenol, too. Things hurt after a 12 hours shift.

    And NO COFFEE after ~ 3 am! :zzzzz :zzzzz :zzzzz
  14. by   teeituptom
    exercise or golf works for unwinding

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