Sleep-night shift

  1. I worked 18 years on the night shift. For the last 8 years, I have worked day shift. So at noon today I have an interview for a night shift position.

    My question is this: Is there a sleeping pill strong enough to help me sleep, if I do take this position? I struggle very badly with sleep. When I was younger I could do it on no sleep. But the older I get the harder it was to work night shift, I am a terrible sleeper.

    Any success with a sleeping pill strong enough for night shift workers? I tried everything in the book, when I worked nights, so try not to give me all the advice "make your room dark, cool, sleep hygiene." because I feel like I have tried every single thing on the planet. I tried melatonin for years, may as well take a sugar pill, it does nothing.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    I doubt it. I was occasionally, to too frequently, taking various sleeping pills. Got home from a vacation and could not find my sleeping pills that I had taken with me anywhere!

    I stopped taking them cold turkey and have felt much better in many ways.

    I stopped obsessing about sleep. I stopped "counting" how many hours sleep did I get. I go to bed, read my Kindle, if I don't feel sleepy I simply relax and accept (half seriously, half jokingly) that I am not going to sleep at all, no big deal, and read. I do eventually fall asleep. When I wake up 2 - 4 hours later I can tell it is still early, but I don't look at the clock, I get my Kindle and think...okay that is all the sleep I am going to get, and usually do fall asleep again.

    I have gotten 3 - 4 hours sleep and if I am honest with myself feel fine the next day, as long as I don't obsess over how many hour I slept!

    I have gotten 6 - 8 hours solid sleep and felt lousy all day.

    Yeah when there is 4 - 5 nights in a row where I don't sleep well it isn't fun, but those times are rare.

    It is like someone trying to diet and thinking all day about what food. They are obsessed with food and the diet won't work. People to often obsess about their sleep hours and make themselves crazy.
  4. by   Been there,done that
    You have tried the healthy interventions to change your circadian rhythm to sleeping in the daytime, without success.

    Now you want a magic pill. Refresh yourself on the side effects of hypnotics.

    Find a day job.
  5. by   Vtachy1
    See that is what I also did. Until it completely caught up with me and Got myself in a horrible place. I would LOVE to get 3-4hours of sleep. I would give my right arm for that! I usually only get 1 hour at most. Maybe been there, done that is right I should not even entertain the idea of this night job.
  6. by   canoehead
    It took me about a year to sleep as well doing nights as I did day shift. I agree with the others, obsessing about it is the worst thing you can do. I found that just lying there with my eyes closed helped even I didn't actually sleep.
  7. by   Rockclimbingnurse
    I never adjusted to sleeping well on the night shift, but that was because I did a lot of swing shifts also. I had some luck with Trazodone, but I really disliked having to rely on a pill to sleep. I mostly relied on coffee to get through the night!
  8. by   Floor_Nurse
    I pretty much agree with "been-there-done-that". Also, coffee may be your worst enemy. It is a stimulant that can really whack-out your sleep schedule.


    As for sleep meds...they make you dependent on them as you need more and more. Ambien is a terrible med that doesn't always work. Natural methods are best.
  9. by   Lisacar130
    Melatonin has always helped me. It isn't addictive or anything. That and taking a short power nap before leaving for work if needed, but I usually don't need to.
  10. by   caliotter3
    Compromise. Get a swing shift job.
  11. by   sunshinerainbows
    I second Trazodone. It's an older antidepressant that has seen a resurgence in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, so says the Internet.

    I actually have a sleeping disorder as you can see in my post history. I never thought I would be able to do night shift but I've found it easier than others have because I have the prescriptions that make me go to sleep whenever, which seems to be the biggest challenge facing other new to night shift people. I actually recommended it to a coworker whose husband has struggled for years with insomnia and it worked for him.

    I got on Trazodone because of anxiety not sleep. It has strong anxiolytic effects similar to benzodiazepines after about six weeks according to the one study that I read but it's not habit forming like benzodiazepines (link below).

    It's not a sleeping pill along the lines of Ambien. It's just sedating. It took me about two days to adjust to it and it gave me a bad headache the first day. No problems since. The only thing is, when it's working it's really working and it's going to keep working for six or seven hours. I don't think it would work well for a nap before work. If I end up taking it before work, I have to take it very early and make sure to get a full seven hours of sleep before getting up.

    Link - Antidepressants for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. A placebo-controlled comparison of imipramine, trazodone, and diazepam: Antidepressants for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. A placebo-controlled comparison of imipramine, trazodone, and diazepam. - PubMed - NCBI
    Last edit by sunshinerainbows on Oct 16 : Reason: Clarity
  12. by   nmnnurse
    I am not sure why you would want the night shift if you had problems before. I firmly believe that some people are night people and some are day people. I worked a day job for many years and no matter how much sleep I got, I felt like I was on autopilot until about 0900. I am much happier in a night shift despite the difficulties it causes with gocery shopping and the like. I still fill in an occasional day, but when I do, I have the same problem sleeping at night as you do during the day.
  13. by   ElvishDNP
    I'm gonna be straight up with you. I worked nights for 9 years and I'm sure it took years off my life - even with sleeping pills etc. I did the earplugs, box fan, dark room, melatonin, Ambien, Rozerem, you name it. I just didn't sleep well and even on my days off I didn't feel rested. I work days now, and while 0515 comes super early, I feel 10 years younger.

    I guess my question is - why do you want to do this to yourself again? Is it going to be worth the hit your physical and mental health are going to take? Please don't feel the need to answer me here, just ask yourself and be honest in your self-assessment.
  14. by   yellowcup
    Quote from brownbook
    I doubt it. I was occasionally, to too frequently, taking various sleeping pills. Got home from a vacation and could not find my sleeping pills that I had taken with me anywhere!

    I stopped taking them cold turkey and have felt much better in many ways.

    I stopped obsessing about sleep. I stopped "counting" how many hours sleep did I get. I go to bed, read my Kindle, if I don't feel sleepy I simply relax and accept (half seriously, half jokingly) that I am not going to sleep at all, no big deal, and read. I do eventually fall asleep. When I wake up 2 - 4 hours later I can tell it is still early, but I don't look at the clock, I get my Kindle and think...okay that is all the sleep I am going to get, and usually do fall asleep again.

    I have gotten 3 - 4 hours sleep and if I am honest with myself feel fine the next day, as long as I don't obsess over how many hour I slept!

    I have gotten 6 - 8 hours solid sleep and felt lousy all day.

    Yeah when there is 4 - 5 nights in a row where I don't sleep well it isn't fun, but those times are rare.

    It is like someone trying to diet and thinking all day about what food. They are obsessed with food and the diet won't work. People to often obsess about their sleep hours and make themselves crazy.
    That is so true! and helpful!

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