Sleep deprived due to nightshift - page 2

by hemingrald 5,685 Views | 25 Comments

I just started doing nightshift work recently and I find after work, I start to experience difficulty sleeping during the day after work which causes me to feel so sleepy when I'm at work at night. I find it weird because I have... Read More


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    Quote from marycarney
    My research WILL be published in the Journal for Nurses in Staff Development either late this year or early 2014. PM me and I'll send you a copy of my thesis if you like.
    I'm doing another project right now and have about five more I'd like to do......$omeday
    Hi Mary,
    I would love to have a read at your thesis as well, but since I can't use the PM feature due to my low post count- do you mind me asking, so based on your findings how do they cope with night shifts and any successful methods that they did to readjust their body clock? Congratulations on being published by the way
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    I don't have issues with staying awake at work...my issues come about on my days off. I try to switch to a normal sleeping schedule on my days off but I still end up being wide awake in the middle of the night.

    As for trying to get to sleep once you get home, different things work for different people. Some people like to work out immediately after getting off the clock. I never have the energy (or desire) to do that lol and working out actually energizes me, so I avoid. Some, though, swear that it helps them sleep afterwards.

    Invest in some black out curtains or if you don't want to do that, invest in an sleep mask to mimic night time when you sleep. Turn off all electronics, including your cell phone. Tell your friends and family about your work schedule and your designated sleep times. Remember, their 1pm is your 1am! Keep your sleep environment cool, too. Turn on the AC or have a fan going - it's nice to have a little bit of "white noise" to help you doze off.

    I use either Benadryl or melatonin to help me sleep when I'm switching back to my night shift schedule. I typically do 3 in a row (though now I'm doing 2 in a row with 3-4 days off, 2 in a row, 1 off, 2 in a row) so once I'm back on my night shift sleep schedule, I don't use sleep aids to help me sleep when I'm off the clock.

    If you like coffee, drink it. I need this liquid elixir to function, lol. I do, however, cut off my caffeine consumption around 0100 to prevent sleeping problems when I'm finally off the clock. If I feel like I'm dragging at work, then I'll drink a couple of sips of coffee if it's past my 0100 cut off time, but that's it. No problems.

    I also agree with wearing sunglasses. And wear them if you have to get up and pee. Any light exposure will start waking you up and you'll find it hard to go back to sleep.
    jrsRN07 and poppycat like this.
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    I've emptied my mailbox and can now take messages from you all. OR email me at marycarney49@yahoo.com
    poppycat likes this.
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    I've found the more I black out the windows, the worse I sleep.....its like my brain knows im trying to trick it and I wake up with eye pain and horrid headaches..... yet when I sleep just normally all is well.
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    I will post my routine as it may help and this topic fascinates me as a night shift worker. Explain your schedule to family/friends first and foremost, even though they still won't get it.

    As others have said you just need to give it a little time and find what works for you. If after a little while you are still struggling you may have to meet with your manager and tell hem/her that you just can't do it, I'd hope they would help you out as they just spent a lot of money training you.

    My routine is as follows, I work 12 hr shifts 7p-7:30am. Usually drink a lot of water during my shift, coffee and/or tea if I need it, but not after 2am. Usually get home by 8ish have a small snack, and I go to sleep right away, because if I'm up past 9ish, I struggle to sleep. I have black out curtains and try to keep my house around 68 degrees. I usually have 2 days on and then 2 or 3 in a row off.

    On my days off I stay up until 3 am or so and sleep til around noon, so my schedule is never too much off. If I have vacation or am luckily scheduled 4-5 days off I will usually revert to a normal day schedule for that.

    I also have a membership at a 24 hr gym as it gives me something to do while the rest of the world is sleeping and is good for me and they have programs for night shifters like midnight volleyball and basketball . I try to spend my days off outside when it's nice. I take a multivitamin with vitamin D daily.

    This is what works for me as I usually have no problems getting ~8 hours of uninterrupted sleep aside from the rare day when I just can't sleep for some reason which happened before I started working nights anyway.
    jaratarRN, pinkiepieRN, and nrsang97 like this.
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    Everyone is wired differently, too. Some people are naturally more adjusted for nights than others, myself included. I have never enjoyed waking up early, and every day shift job I've ever held, well I could not wait to get out at the end of it. I've never slept well at night.

    I've been on permanent nights for three years by choice. Sometimes I don't sleep well during the day, but mostly, I stay on a night schedule even on days off. I don't have children, so it's easier for me. As far as my routine, I sleep 1030a to 1730, exercise before work and eat healthy meals at work (chicken, veggies, nuts, eggs, granola, fruit, sometimes pasta.

    I eat small, frequent meals throughout my shift with lots of water, and no caffeine. This is the downfall for most people. If you require caffeine, consume it early in the shift and no later than 5 hours before your shift is over, otherwise you won't sleep. I use ear plugs and I do have blackout curtains, but there is still some light in my room, which is ok for me.

    Sometimes I'll take melatonin to sleep, although the research is inconclusive that melatonin supplements are effective. I find that I build a tolerance for sleep aids, so I'll have periods where I will abstain on purpose and just go to sleep naturally.
    crynyce likes this.
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    Like some of you above, I am naturally "programmed" for nights as well. Prior to starting nights, I was never a "good sleeper" I would take hours to fall asleep at night, and then never feel rested when my alarm went off. Now I've worked night shift for almost 5 years and have the opposite problem from most. I feel like a zombie when I have to be up in the daytime for something. But my husband is a natural morning person who works nights, and here are some things that have helped him out:

    -We keep the bedroom cool, about 65 degrees
    -We have curtains on all the windows (it used to be blackout ones, but now that he's more acclimated to nights, it's just regular curtains.)
    -There is always a fan on in our room, even in the winter.
    -A sound machine, or some other kind of white noise is essential

    As far as supplements/medications for sleep go, I've never tried anything prescription, but have used the following (usually when I need to go to sleep at a "normal" time for a class or something in the AM)

    -Benadryl made me more zombie-like than if I hadn't taken anything at all. I took it when I had to be at an ACLS class all day, and had to go take a nap in my car at lunchtime just to get through the day.
    -Melatonin I've found to be very beneficial in helping me fall asleep, which is sometimes an issue for me. But I still sometimes wake up after a couple of hours
    -Valerian root, on the other hand doesn't help with the falling asleep, but is fantastic for the staying asleep aspect. Gives me weird dreams though, so I only use it once in awhile.
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    Quote from TopsDrop
    Explain your schedule to family/friends first and foremost, even though they still won't get it.
    I've worked straight nights for almost 12 years and people still don't get it! Its so frustrating. For example, last Sunday I had to work and my mother-in-law asked me to come to church since I haven't been there in a while. (I work 3 out of 4 Sundays a week since night shift weekends are Fri & Sat which I work every 3rd) I told her I had to work so I'd be sleeping. She then texted me, "Can you at least come over for dinner at 1?" Seriously? Would you want to get up at 1am for a family function before your 12 hr day shift from 7a-7p? Not that she works, but that's the only way I can think of to explain it to her or anyone else. You'd think after 12 yrs of me being on nights that family and friends WOULD get it! I think the only ones who really do are night shifters themselves.
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    Yes! And some people fail to understand that generally, if I only have two days off in between shifts, I'm not game for a whole lot of action.

    One reason why nights work for me is that I value my sleep. That first day off isn't a day off, since I haven't slept yet. Then the second day involves cleaning, laundry, cooking my meals for work and various errands.

    In order for me to feel truly rested and "off", I need at least 4-5 days in between shifts. Unless you're a true night shifter, you won't really grasp that the first and second days off are sleep and catch up days.
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    Exactly! I'm on my second day off and still in my PJs from when I got off work yesterday morning! Ha!
    I have 5 off in a row..which happens once a month..but the first day or two I have to recuperate.
    ( BTW, when I posted above that I work 3 Sundays a week, I meant month! Still tired!)
    nrsang97, silverbat, and poppycat like this.


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