Nightshift -days off

  1. I have been a nightshift nurse for about 2 years now. I easily adjusted to nights within my first week of switching and have never felt fatigued on nights. For my first year I had the best of both worlds. I was awake during nights and enjoyed my days off.

    For the past 6 months or so I have been so drained on my off days though.

    I work my three 12's in a row and feel great during my work portion of the week and usually sleep 6-8hrs in between shifts. On my days off though it doesn't matter how much sleep I get (I'm talking anywhere from 7-14! hours) I feel beat down. I cannot wake up during daytime hours to do chores or to do anything. I only feel my energy pick up around 10pm and by then it's dark, stores are closed, my husband is in bed and everything useful I wanted to get done is pushed off.

    I guess more than anything I'm not looking for the advice to switch to days (it would be a 6 dollar pay cut and I love my shift and I'm a charge nurse so there isn't necessarily a day position as charge) or the advice to see a doctor (which I have).
    I am just wanting to know does anyone else have a similar issue?
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from LittleRedOwl
    I have been a nightshift nurse for about 2 years now. I easily adjusted to nights within my first week of switching and have never felt fatigued on nights. For my first year I had the best of both worlds. I was awake during nights and enjoyed my days off.

    For the past 6 months or so I have been so drained on my off days though.

    I work my three 12's in a row and feel great during my work portion of the week and usually sleep 6-8hrs in between shifts. On my days off though it doesn't matter how much sleep I get (I'm talking anywhere from 7-14! hours) I feel beat down. I cannot wake up during daytime hours to do chores or to do anything. I only feel my energy pick up around 10pm and by then it's dark, stores are closed, my husband is in bed and everything useful I wanted to get done is pushed off.

    I guess more than anything I'm not looking for the advice to switch to days (it would be a 6 dollar pay cut and I love my shift and I'm a charge nurse so there isn't necessarily a day position as charge) or the advice to see a doctor (which I have).
    I am just wanting to know does anyone else have a similar issue?
    Yep. I'm a night person and do fine when I'm working. My days off are a haze, though. What did your doctor say? I took medication for a while, but stopped when I decided to have a few babies and haven't started again.
  4. by   LittleRedOwl
    Thyroid labs fine. Slight anemia on my CBC. Take women's vitamins.
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from LittleRedOwl
    Thyroid labs fine. Slight anemia on my CBC. Take women's vitamins.
    Mine just put me on a stimulant ....wonderful if you want to accomplish more in one day than you usually do in one month, but then there's the whole "habit-forming, controlled substance" thing.
  6. by   LittleRedOwl
    Lol yeah the habit forming part is a bit off putting. Though I'm sure it would work wonders.
  7. by   WestCoastSunRN
    I think for a good many nurses night shift is a great start as a new nurse or in a new place, but not sustainable long-term. It is possible you are one of these nurses. I would start by looking at your health and fitness habits: do you drink plenty of water when working and not when working? Is your diet pristine (low sugar, LOTS of fresh veggies/fruit, ample protein, not-too-much grain, -- little to no processed foods and in line with your personal food-tolerance needs)? Do you work out for at least 20 minutes (break a sweat -- heart rate up) everyday? Do you force yourself to flip your non-working day schedule back into gear by not allowing yourself to sleep too much on your transition day?
    When you are asking your body to do something counter-intuitive to its circadian rhythm, you have to pull out ALL the stops to make it work. And even then it might not be sustainable. I would be very cautious about taking any kind of prescription or OTC depressants or stimulants to try to cope with this. It is a band aid at best, at worst it could pull a lot of proverbial skin off. I know the night shift differential is hard to walk away from, but you have to pay the cost somehow. Maybe for you it will be enough to become SUPER tuned in and responsive to your body with very high standards of self care (if you do not already do those things), and you can stay on nights. I think you have to be very disciplined to make it work -- I think the night shift healthy lifestyle requires a greater amount of discipline than the day shift one. I hope you figure it out and feel better soon!
  8. by   Been there,done that
    Your circadian rhythm cannot take the switch. "I have been so drained on my off days."

    The only answer is to stay on your night shift activities/ rhythm 24/7.

    It's your choice, wonder what the hubby has to say about this. The differential is NOT worth your mental health.
  9. by   cardiacfreak
    I have worked nights for more than 20 years. It was rough when the kids were little, but now they are all grown and out of the house, so I sleep when I want and get up when I want. Hubby doesn't seem to mind as long as he has something to eat in the fridge. He is OCD so house cleaning tasks he takes care of and I pay bills on line and go to the 24 hour grocery at 0200. There are some weird people out at 0300, and sometimes I wonder if they think that I am one of the weird-os
  10. by   Lady_Leijing
    I've worked nights for 4 years, and I've never been a "morning person". I usually run on a modified evening schedule on my days off. I get up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon if I don't have something scheduled earlier, and I'm up until 3 or 4 am. It usually takes me about an hour before I do anything productive, but so long as I don't need to run to the bank, most things can be done on a night schedule (Yay Walgreens & Wal-mart). The biggest difficulty for you might be getting your husband on board with this. Mine is an evening person--doesn't stay up super late, but is usually up until around midnight or so--so it wasn't a problem for me.
  11. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Lady_Leijing
    I've worked nights for 4 years, and I've never been a "morning person". I usually run on a modified evening schedule on my days off. I get up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon if I don't have something scheduled earlier, and I'm up until 3 or 4 am. It usually takes me about an hour before I do anything productive, but so long as I don't need to run to the bank, most things can be done on a night schedule (Yay Walgreens & Wal-mart). The biggest difficulty for you might be getting your husband on board with this. Mine is an evening person--doesn't stay up super late, but is usually up until around midnight or so--so it wasn't a problem for me.
    You'd never know how much I go to the beach because I only go overnight and am super-pale.
  12. by   lindseylpn
    I've been on nights for 13 years and I can usually switch back and forth pretty easily. I sleep at night on my days off and the day before I go back to work I'll take a few hour nap before going in. On my first day off I'll take a few hour nap during the day and then go to bed at night. Every so often though I'll have a couple of weeks to months where I just can't adjust. I'll sleep during the day at those times (or sometimes day and night) and then my body will readjust itself back to my normal schedule. It's like a cycle for me.

    My husband also works nights (5 eights) and on his days off he splits his sleep between days and nights, like 4-6 hours during the day then several hours at night or vice versa.
  13. by   ProperlySeasoned
    A change in sleep pattern can be a sign of depression - how are you feeling lately? Also, if you are using caffeine and sugar to deal with fatigue, this can make the problem worse. Best of luck to you - I too took a big cut when I switched to day shift, but overall it was worth it for my mental and physical health.
  14. by   ThePrincessBride
    Quote from Been there,done that
    Your circadian rhythm cannot take the switch. "I have been so drained on my off days."

    The only answer is to stay on your night shift activities/ rhythm 24/7.

    It's your choice, wonder what the hubby has to say about this. The differential is NOT worth your mental health.
    And if finances are a big thing, you can always get a PRN job and pick an eight hour shift every other week to make up the difference, or pick up OT on your job.

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