Night Shift might be killing me - page 3

Any night shifters here? I'm only 30 (soon to be 31) and I feel like my body is falling apart. I've been working night shift since college (about 10 years give or take). I've gained weight, can't... Read More

  1. by   Predaking
    Quote from teeituptom
    Worked 12 nights for over 2 decades. Loved it. And when I was your age nothing bothered me atall. Get off at 7 am and head across the street to the golf course, get in a fast 18, take a nap and do it all over. Or get off at 7 go to the health club. Or get off at 7 take my wife to breakfast. I just made it work. Trick is getting and keeping your activity level up. Come to think of it, I still do all those things and Im 2.5 decades farther along than you.
    I wish I was as motivated as you working nights. I felt like crap getting off at 7am. Especially in my microbiology class this past semester. Now that I'm working pm's(occasional 12 hour shifts), I feel awesome. Sleep is never a problem with me working the swing shift. I go to bed at 2 or 3 in the am (after watching my on demand movies or surfing the net) and I'm still getting 8+ hrs sleep (I love my warm comfy bed and my twin cool pillows).

    Working 12 hour shifts gives me more time for school as a well. My grades shot up after I quit the NOC shift and that stupid hospital I was employed with.

    Last edit by Predaking on Jun 4, '07
  2. by   deeDawntee
    I've worked nights since nursing school. But I just recently switched to 12 hour shift and I'll tell you it has been a hard adjustment. I figure it takes at least 6 months for my body to get used to a new sleeping/activity schedule. I find that I do OK if I listen to my body and let it get the rest it needs and try not make myself feel guilty for not doing enough on my days off. I eventually recover and am able to function in the daytime as well as night. It is the daytime functioning that is the challenge for me! I would really like to hear how others manage their lives and make it work, working the night shift.
  3. by   swedishRN
    I work nights and love it!
    If I had to work the day-shift 5 days a week, I probably wouldn't be a nurse for long. It's too much stress during the day, with the phone ringing, doctors, other nurses and the aides calling for my attention the whole day. Although, I am wondering how long my body will last working nights.
  4. by   leslymill
    Quote from rn/writer

    I can't imagine working days. Seriously, I'd want a HUGE shift differential to start coming in at 0700.

    I wish you well.


    SHHHHHH
    They may here you.

    Isn't it a wonderful kickback for the nightowl to get the benefits of more pay from someone who seems to pity you for getting to sleep all day long.

    hehehe
  5. by   Tweety
    Quote from deeDawntee
    I've worked nights since nursing school. But I just recently switched to 12 hour shift and I'll tell you it has been a hard adjustment. I figure it takes at least 6 months for my body to get used to a new sleeping/activity schedule. I find that I do OK if I listen to my body and let it get the rest it needs and try not make myself feel guilty for not doing enough on my days off. I eventually recover and am able to function in the daytime as well as night. It is the daytime functioning that is the challenge for me! I would really like to hear how others manage their lives and make it work, working the night shift.
    That's what did me in. When I was working 5 8's a week, I felt fine, and got a nice pattern down. But the 3 12's killed me. On my days off I would take a series of naps. If I forced myself to stay up just for the priviledge of sleeping at night, I felt like crap that day and still couldn't sleep that much at night. I was always up in the wee hours of the morning.

    I feel much better on day shift now. This is after working 13 years of nights. I didn't realize how fatigued I chronically was, until I starting sleeping at night again.

    God love the night shift workers, we need you for sure.
  6. by   Piglet08
    My first nursing job was 8 hr evening shifts, and it was soooo depressing, I was never home when my family was. I went over to nights and that was sooo much better. I've done 12's as day and night shift, and I've found working nights is im-pos-si-ble if your nearest and dearest aren't considerate of your sleep.

    I hope you find a solution. Good luck.
  7. by   Josh L.Ac.
    I just started orientating in the ICU on nights as a graduate nurse and last week, I ended up working 6 12-hour shifts in 7 days [different calendar weeks so no OT...sigh]. Luckily, I have worked 60 hour weeks and night shifts before, so I tried what worked in the past:


    Cardio - 30 minutes of moderate-to-high intensity cardio [75-85% of max HR] prior to shift.
    Meal Replacements - 2 high-quality MRP's; 1 for on the way to work, the 2nd at 400.
    Meal - at 230, a light-meal with nothing to heavy so I don't crash.
    Energy drink - currently I use "5-hour energy drink", taken at 300.


    I get home, kiss my wife and son, then sleep from 830 to 1530. The high-stress from work and long-hours combined with the exercise help me sleep well.

    I also try to get an acupuncture treatment and a massage at least 2 times a month [each].

    On my off days, I hit the gym to do weights around midnight. Even if I am only going to work 3 days in a week on the night shift, I don't play around with trying to acclimate to days then back to nights. It's not worth the stress to the body. As for my family, I am up and ready to cook dinner when they get back home if it is my night off.

    On the plus-side, the hospital cafeteria is closed while I am at work so I am not tempted to put that horrible food in my system.
  8. by   Angie O'Plasty
    Maybe you're just not a night person. I know that for me, nights would NOT work at all--I'm much more of a day-shift person but can do evenings if needed, but I can't imagine doing nights considering that I notice myself getting a little punchy at the end of an evening shift. I'm glad there are people who actually LIKE working nights because that means that hopefully I will be able to avoid doing so.
  9. by   Alois Wolf
    I've been working "A" shift for about 3 years now and I absolutely love it. At first, it was a definite adjustment, but seeing how I'm a natural night person to begin with I was able to adapt quickly. I just have to make sure that when I get home around 8:30a that I block out the sun and make sure that I'm not disturbed or I will not be able to fall back to sleep. When I wake up, I turn on all the lights making it an "artifical" sun-rise. I try to eat well... though living at home it's not too easy. I don't exercise as much as I should and my doc wishes that my cholesterol was a little lower, though it is still in the normal range...

    The only hard part is that on my days off I often have to bounce back and forth from being up all night to being up all day... that is the only thing I hate about. I end up sleeping extra hours than I should on monday/tuesday morning when I'm off to compensate, but... yeah.
  10. by   HappyJaxRN
    HI. I'm coming in kind of late in this conversation, but I work nights and like Tweety, I can't work days. I've never been a day person. I also suffer from insomnia. I can stay awake for 24 or more hours at a time. I have had to make a lot of adjustments when I became a nurse, even though I have pretty much always worked the night shift. I DO take something the help me sleep, PRN. It ends up being QAM tho. It's hard to get GOOD sleep during the day time, sometimes. I don't know about you, but after running around for 12 hours, I'm SORE!

    I have a caffeine cut off at 3am. I drink a lot of water and stay away from the sweets while working. When you come home, stretch, do things that relax you. Sometimes I take a tylenol before I lay down. I bought a new bed which has helped a lot. It's a sleep number bed. Sometimes I come home with a sore back and pump the bed up high for more support and other days, I let the air out to be cradled in a mattress. I know a lot of nurses that take OTC and Rx meds for sleep. Changing diet can help a lot. Always make sure you get adequate amount of sleep. 3 or 4 hours is NOT enough for 12 hours of running with your head cut off. Anyway...I don't know if that helps any.

    Best wishes to you!
  11. by   SarasotaRN2b
    I've been working solid nights for going on 9 months now. It was really tough in the beginning, and I have found that if I can work the same 3 days every week, it helped a lot. I know that those two days in the middle, I just have to rest and sleep. I'm usually nodding off between 8 and 9 in the morning and try to sleep at least until 4 pm. Sometimes, I'll wake at 12:30/1 pm, but I force myself to go back to sleep. My difficult days are the day before and the day after my threes. I'm still working on that, but like many of the others who like night shift...the idea of waking to go to work at 7 am fills me with more dread and I know that clinicals which I start in January are going to be tough.

    I think that you really need to think what is best for your body...if you are finding yourself really suffering and getting sick, you need to change shifts...even if it means a change in salary...you only get one body...you don't want it breaking down on you prematurely.

    Kris
  12. by   pie123
    Quote from NICU_3_RN
    Any night shifters here? I'm only 30 (soon to be 31) and I feel like my body is falling apart. I've been working night shift since college (about 10 years give or take). I've gained weight, can't sleep, my joints ache - i feel like a 90 year old!!! Advice?
    No advice. I can relate. I have only been on nights for a month. I'm 34. Once I go to sleep, no matter how many hours I get, I never wake feeling even semi-rested. 5 hours of sleep while working dayshift is much different than 5 hours of sleep while working nights. When I wake, my eyes burn, and I am so sleepy. I'm having a hard time working out: too tired in the morning after work, and too tired when I wake up before work. Hope I get to dayshift soon.
    When I was in my early 20's I had the same problem working nights.
    I've been off work for 2 hours already today. When I finally do go to sleep, no matter what time it is, I'll wake up at 3pm, and cannot go back to sleep.
  13. by   pie123
    Quote from teeituptom
    Worked 12 nights for over 2 decades. Loved it. And when I was your age nothing bothered me atall. Get off at 7 am and head across the street to the golf course, get in a fast 18, take a nap and do it all over. Or get off at 7 go to the health club. Or get off at 7 take my wife to breakfast. I just made it work. Trick is getting and keeping your activity level up. Come to think of it, I still do all those things and Im 2.5 decades farther along than you.
    Geez. Get in a fast 18? How fast is fast? That's putting in some hours, right? Maybe my problem is I'm just a lazy sloth. I'm envious.

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