Another night shift question! Help!

  1. Hi all,

    RN for over two years and just going back to bedside the the 12-hr shifts, scheduled to "rotate" (we get to pick, and usually works out OK). I am about to be off orientation and trying to decide the best way to schedule myself, and trying to figure out the sleep thing. Working a day schedule is so much more normal, but I am naturally a night person. I hate getting up at 5am-something...no amount of caffeine gets me through day shift, plus, our floor is of course crazy on days. I literally feel narcoleptic when I work most days, I'm falling asleep on the toilet, nodding off while charting. I can't help it. It is often a battle. Most of this is because I get such sleep anxiety about watching my alarm, and it's very difficult for me to fall asleep before midnight, and of course is difficult to function off 4-5 hours of sleep.

    The answer seems to be work night shift, right? I do love night better, it's chill, and I'm actually alert almost the entire shift. I like everything better about the actual work. Another plus is I'm back in school as a premed (whole other story), so night shift is great because there's typically hours of downtime for me to study. That's a big plus. The pay is another - we get almost a $7 hour night diff. I've got a lot of debt so that extra REALLY makes a big difference to me.

    Here is my qualm for nights: my sleep gets so ridiculous on my days off and I can't stand it. I do not have any interest in being up later than 4am, or being up at 4am. But my body cannot seem to sleep more than 3-4 hours throughout the night, no matter how much I try. I use way too many diff sleeping pills to try and correct myself to a sleeping schedule, and even do not those work. I've been dealing with insomnia since I was 10, so it's nothing new.

    Most people say that the morning of their last night off, they just sleep half time (4 hours), and then try to go to bed at a normal time that night (say, 11pm). I try to do this too, and I wake up wide awake after 4 hours of sleep, which I have no interest in. If I get up and try to do things, not only do I feel all depressed and screwed up, there's not much to do at this hour. And without fail, I'll get tired again as the sun comes up and then want to sleep during the day. I've even tried to use Ambien on my first night off in an attempt to sleep from 12am-8am or so, but I still wake up wide awake but feeling drugged at 4am!). My body is def not normal when it comes to sleep, I know this. So, are any of you similar?

    HELP! I'm trying to take advantage of it but it's just weird. I want to know how to return to somewhat normal on my days off. I've been up since 4am right now and still awake (it's 6:30), so I'm doing laundry and gonna go to yoga at 8am. But it feels like so weird, I just don't feel right! And then I'm guessing I'm going to be tired after this, but I have a dr. appt I scheduled at 1pm to go to, so no middle of day naptime. Arghhhh! Do I just start planning on sleeping in 4 hour shifts?

    Finally, I'm going to start going to school on T/Tr. I'm thinking once that starts, I'll work a day shift on Wednesday, and then do two nights on the weekend. Does this sound like a good idea or a failure? My classes will likely be 9am-3pm each day.
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    About hakunamatataRN

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 72; Likes: 124
    from US

    1 Comments

  3. by   aathompson19
    @hakunamatataRN When you start school do not switch back and forth to day and night you will really regret it, you are having problems sleeping because your Circadian Rhythm is off. Switching would make it worst, it's jumbled for some reason, usually its because of working the night shift. Or it could be that you've been like that all of your life. Then you may need to have a Sleep Disorder Consultation, to pinpoint what is keeping you awake. Check out http://sleepfoundation.org. I worked the night shift for 5 years and 6years later still has mild issues sleeping at night. Medications are the worst especially Ambien because it may actually cause you to sleep walk (documented) Your best bet is meditation, using scents and soothing music before sleep, taking a warm scented bath going to sleep 8-9hours before your scheduled shift so you can wake up 2 hours before shift and take your time readying for work, not rushing. On off days usually the first day is hard. But set up a regiment and stick with it turn the phone off, use room darkening shades, turn television off take your bath dress for bed and hit the sack. Use a blue bulb in one of your bedside lamps, it could be quite soothing. I read a book or listen to low soothing music. Yoga helps also Good Luck.


    Quote from hakunamatataRN
    Hi all,

    RN for over two years and just going back to bedside the the 12-hr shifts, scheduled to "rotate" (we get to pick, and usually works out OK). I am about to be off orientation and trying to decide the best way to schedule myself, and trying to figure out the sleep thing. Working a day schedule is so much more normal, but I am naturally a night person. I hate getting up at 5am-something...no amount of caffeine gets me through day shift, plus, our floor is of course crazy on days. I literally feel narcoleptic when I work most days, I'm falling asleep on the toilet, nodding off while charting. I can't help it. It is often a battle. Most of this is because I get such sleep anxiety about watching my alarm, and it's very difficult for me to fall asleep before midnight, and of course is difficult to function off 4-5 hours of sleep.

    The answer seems to be work night shift, right? I do love night better, it's chill, and I'm actually alert almost the entire shift. I like everything better about the actual work. Another plus is I'm back in school as a premed (whole other story), so night shift is great because there's typically hours of downtime for me to study. That's a big plus. The pay is another - we get almost a $7 hour night diff. I've got a lot of debt so that extra REALLY makes a big difference to me.

    Here is my qualm for nights: my sleep gets so ridiculous on my days off and I can't stand it. I do not have any interest in being up later than 4am, or being up at 4am. But my body cannot seem to sleep more than 3-4 hours throughout the night, no matter how much I try. I use way too many diff sleeping pills to try and correct myself to a sleeping schedule, and even do not those work. I've been dealing with insomnia since I was 10, so it's nothing new.

    Most people say that the morning of their last night off, they just sleep half time (4 hours), and then try to go to bed at a normal time that night (say, 11pm). I try to do this too, and I wake up wide awake after 4 hours of sleep, which I have no interest in. If I get up and try to do things, not only do I feel all depressed and screwed up, there's not much to do at this hour. And without fail, I'll get tired again as the sun comes up and then want to sleep during the day. I've even tried to use Ambien on my first night off in an attempt to sleep from 12am-8am or so, but I still wake up wide awake but feeling drugged at 4am!). My body is def not normal when it comes to sleep, I know this. So, are any of you similar?

    HELP! I'm trying to take advantage of it but it's just weird. I want to know how to return to somewhat normal on my days off. I've been up since 4am right now and still awake (it's 6:30), so I'm doing laundry and gonna go to yoga at 8am. But it feels like so weird, I just don't feel right! And then I'm guessing I'm going to be tired after this, but I have a dr. appt I scheduled at 1pm to go to, so no middle of day naptime. Arghhhh! Do I just start planning on sleeping in 4 hour shifts?

    Finally, I'm going to start going to school on T/Tr. I'm thinking once that starts, I'll work a day shift on Wednesday, and then do two nights on the weekend. Does this sound like a good idea or a failure? My classes will likely be 9am-3pm each day.
    Last edit by aathompson19 on Aug 15, '14 : Reason: Grammar

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