Sleep deprived due to nightshift - page 2

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... Read More

  1. by   Sparrowhawk
    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.
  2. by   TopsDrop
    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.
  3. by   joanna73
    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.
  4. by   86toronado
    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.
  5. by   julz68
    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.
  6. by   joanna73
    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.
  7. by   julz68
    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!)
  8. by   joanna73
    So it's not just me lol. Sometimes I'll spend my two days off in pajamas.
  9. by   julz68
    Nope! Not just you! It's 9am where I live and I'm planning on staying right here in bed til at least noon before I decide to join the land of the living.
  10. by   crynyce
    try dark curtains and chamomile tea
  11. by   marycarney
    My fellow night shifter will appreciate this: I almost NEVER sleep with my phone in the bedroom, but my 84 year old Dad was moving to a new apartment and he's 150 miles away, so I wanted to be reachable. Started getting calls from an unknown number with just random noise on the line.
    All day long - arghhhh........ turns out to be the fax machine at a CVS pharmacy in another town. Now, I've never, ever filled a prescription at a CVS (My uncle was the VP of Walgreens), and I've never been to the town in question. They're 'looking into it'. Sheesh.
  12. by   mmz101
    I worked night shift for a year then requested day shift as I found I couldn't sleep during the day. Four months later I was begging for nights again. Come to the conclusion that I am not a morning person. However, I find that I can't sleep between shifts, I'm lucky if I can grab 3 hours a day. My house just seems eerily quiet for day time, but my biggest problem is friends and family that think just because I work nights means I don't need as much sleep. I've tried everything but I am constantly sleep deprived in work, so much that when I get a night off I sleep 24 hours and have no problem with sleeping that day. My GP prescribed Mirtazipine but it made me drowsy getting out of bed, defeating the purpose. I've just came to the conclusion that I won't get a proper sleep between shifts and am accepting the fact il have to live with a permanent headache.
  13. by   marycarney
    I take OTC doxylamine between consecutive nights of work (ONLY between consecutive nights of work) and I sleep well, no hangover. Walmart and Walgreens both sell it as a sleep aid.
    Don't give up trying to find something to help you sleep- the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation are not good at all.