Sleepless on the night shift

  1. Need advise. I'm having trouble turning my nights and days around. Translation I work nights. Usually 3 in a row and we work 12 hour shifts. My problem is that I have teenagers and a husband that are day people.(NORMAL PEOPLE) When I get off my third shift, I'm dead. I work in the ER and many times you don't sit down for the whole shift. I want to beable to see my family, but I'm so use to my day sleeping and night working that I can't seem to switch. I can't afford to go to days and don't want to. So whats the answer? Any advise I would appreciate it. Thanks.
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  2. 38 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    http://www.enw.org/NightShift.htm

    also wear dark glasses when you drive home so that you don't reset your internal clock
  4. by   Tweety
    If I know I need to be up during the daytime, I cut my sleep short the first day and try to sleep at night. Problem is it takes me a couple of days to be a daytime person and then it's time to flip to nights.

    I don't have an easy answer. For me it's not a matter of being up the entire day, but just spurts. They are going to have to understand you can't be with them the entire day that mom's going to need a nap to be functioning properly.

    Good luck.
  5. by   prmenrs
    I agree about the sunglasses--the darkest ones you can find, put them on before you leave the building. Make sure your bedroom is dark enough, have a fan or something going for "white noise". Watch your nutrition--@ least take a multivit! No caffeine after ~ 2am! Chlortrimeton or Benadryl can help you sleep.

    If you can get enough (quality and quantity) sleep between night 1-2 and 2-3, you could get up around 2pm after night 3, enjoy your family, but try to get to bed early that night. You should be ok the next couple of days, then take a nap before the 1st night back.

    Nights is very hard on your body! Do the best you can to stay healthy.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    I sleep normally on my days off by napping only my last morning and 'resetting' myself to sleep at night like my family. Of course if I'm working my shifts back to back, I sleep all day...family has to get used to that. It takes some self training and sometimes a Benedryl but it works OK once you get used to it...for most people anyway. Some nurses never get used to nights, luckily I have done well. I know I couldn't handle being a nurse if I had to do day shift...LOL!
  7. by   traumaRUs
    I worked nights for 12 years and it finally came down to the fact that my family knew that I needed my sleep otherwise I was pretty grouchy...sometimes I would sit on the couch and actually be sleeping. Whatever it takes for you to get enough rest is what you have to do. Good luck!
  8. by   mother/babyRN
    I just wrote a post " I think I am going to crack up." Now that I think of it, much of that sort of feeling has to do with working the night shift...
  9. by   night owl
    After working nights since '97, I have to do days on Sunday. Just one day. I'm used to sleeping as soon as I go home in the morning. THIS will be interesting. Besides the patients, I'll have to deal with the visitors. OMG! Somebody help me!!!
  10. by   redshiloh
    I remember when I worked night shift one time my dad called and woke me up around 1400 asking " Are you STILL asleep?" I told him I was going to call him at 0300 and ask him the same thing. 'Normal' people do not understand life on nights.
    Talk to your family (or threaten like I did) and see if they have any ideas. After all, most teenagers know everything, right?
  11. by   night owl
    Quote from redshiloh
    I remember when I worked night shift one time my dad called and woke me up around 1400 asking " Are you STILL asleep?" I told him I was going to call him at 0300 and ask him the same thing. 'Normal' people do not understand life on nights.
    Talk to your family (or threaten like I did) and see if they have any ideas. After all, most teenagers know everything, right?
    My teens would run me ragged and half the time I was in a fog due to lack of sleep. Finally I had to put my foot down. Told them I WILL COME FIRST with my sleep. All running around here and there will cease until I get my sleep. Summertime was especially rough with them. Who had to go to the pool, who had to go shopping for whatever, who had to go to so n so's house, why can't so n so come over? Take me roller skating. It was an arguement every day. Then you sort of work things out. If so n so's mom takes you to the pool, I'll pick you up. Your friend can come over on my day off. The shopping can wait until the evening. Roller skating can wait until the weekends. It all pretty much worked itself out. My eldest got his license and didn't mind running his sister around. All I have to do now is get my youngest in her own car next year with her own license and I'll have it made!Sleep Away Camp here I come!
  12. by   Marty LPN
    Quote from stretch thin
    Need advise. I'm having trouble turning my nights and days around. Translation I work nights. Usually 3 in a row and we work 12 hour shifts. My problem is that I have teenagers and a husband that are day people.(NORMAL PEOPLE) When I get off my third shift, I'm dead. I work in the ER and many times you don't sit down for the whole shift. I want to beable to see my family, but I'm so use to my day sleeping and night working that I can't seem to switch. I can't afford to go to days and don't want to. So whats the answer? Any advise I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    I've working nights on a busy cardiac care unit, since 2001. I started off doing 12 hour shifts, but hated them. Fortunately my Nurse Manager allowed me to return to 8 hour shifts, and gave me a wonderful schedule. (work Sunday - Thursday). Having two nights off in a row has helped a great deal. I usually stay awake all day on Friday, enjoy my family, work around the house, etc. then go to bed that evening around 11pm. (sometimes I take a brief nap Friday morning when I get home, depending on what I have to do that day).

    As far as sleeping, working, and trying to balance the family life, well there is no easy answer. You have to find what works for you. Your spouse and children have to adjust themselves to the fact that you, for 3 days out of the week, are just "unavailable" for most things.(they can cook the meals, and make other arrangements for rides, etc).

    My sleepiing pattern has taken me some time to develop, but works well for me. My shift ends at 0730. I come home, eat B'fast(very important), then run errands, do yard work, and hit the gym. (I think that excersise is important too, helps reduce the stress levels). After all of this, I usually go to bed around 1230 -1300, and sleep until 2000. The trick that worked for me, to avoid that perpetual "tired feeling" that us night workers have, is to get uninterupted sleep. Good luck...
  13. by   j4nice
    Quote from prmenrs
    I agree about the sunglasses--the darkest ones you can find, put them on before you leave the building. Make sure your bedroom is dark enough, have a fan or something going for "white noise". Watch your nutrition--@ least take a multivit! No caffeine after ~ 2am! Chlortrimeton or Benadryl can help you sleep.

    If you can get enough (quality and quantity) sleep between night 1-2 and 2-3, you could get up around 2pm after night 3, enjoy your family, but try to get to bed early that night. You should be ok the next couple of days, then take a nap before the 1st night back.

    Nights is very hard on your body! Do the best you can to stay healthy.
    I Agreee with a multi-vit. but also grabbe any comfy thing you mmay use. Though you may be as hard as a working rock. :spin:
    Last edit by j4nice on Jun 24, '04
  14. by   BittyBabyGrower
    My family has learned...don't wake a sleeping mommy unless you are bleeding all over my clean floor or a piece of you is laying out in the yard or a rabid dog ran off with it. LOL! My DH is pretty good about making sure I sleep...a cranky me is not a pretty site.

    The dark glasses help and I have blinds with a reflective back on them and heavy drapes on my windows. I always have a fan going and the door is closed. The cell phone is the only phone I have on and that is the one that people have the number for emergencies. Drink plenty of water and take vitamins...that helps a lot too

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