Cannot Sleep!! Arrrrggg!

  1. DA**IT! Another day without sleep.

    I'm only 21. I cannot sleep, take a nap, whatever before my night shift. When I work the night before, I can sleep for a while.. then at 1 or so i wake back up. Taking ambien buys me a little more time, but then I drag.

    I can't take ambien before the first night shift because I have usually shifted myself back to a "regular" day/night schedule. I've slept all night... and if I take one when I wake up, then it only works for about 3 hours... it has a short half life. However, if I stay up for a while...lets say three PM or so... I am just tired enough that it would kick me into sleeping for about 8 hours. I'd have to get up and.... drag. Nyquil is a no go. UNISOM doesn't work.


    What do I do? I can't stand this anymore.
    I have a dark room, thick blinds and dark drapes. I'm getting so frusterated I just want to cry!!!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    I feel your pain. One reason I'm going to day shift is I can't stand the fatigue. Part of the problem is flipping back and forth from a day/night schedule to working nights. My only suggestion is rather than sleep all night the day before you go back, trying staying up later, or getting up earlier. Sometimes I get up at 2 or 3 in the morning so I can sleep the day and be rested, but I go in at 7p.
  4. by   LittleKate75
    Quote from jeepgirl
    DA**IT! Another day without sleep.

    I'm only 21. I cannot sleep, take a nap, whatever before my night shift. When I work the night before, I can sleep for a while.. then at 1 or so i wake back up. Taking ambien buys me a little more time, but then I drag.

    I can't take ambien before the first night shift because I have usually shifted myself back to a "regular" day/night schedule. I've slept all night... and if I take one when I wake up, then it only works for about 3 hours... it has a short half life. However, if I stay up for a while...lets say three PM or so... I am just tired enough that it would kick me into sleeping for about 8 hours. I'd have to get up and.... drag. Nyquil is a no go. UNISOM doesn't work.


    What do I do? I can't stand this anymore.
    I have a dark room, thick blinds and dark drapes. I'm getting so frusterated I just want to cry!!!
    Try Melatonin from the GNC or any health food store...they usually come in 3mg tabs...it is the hormone that naturally occurs in your body when you are ready to sleep...it helps me flip flop my night time shift...and also try Benedryl 25-50 mg...that works also....let me know..if you need anymore help
  5. by   HealthyRN
    Quote from jeepgirl
    DA**IT! Another day without sleep.

    I'm only 21. I cannot sleep, take a nap, whatever before my night shift. When I work the night before, I can sleep for a while.. then at 1 or so i wake back up. Taking ambien buys me a little more time, but then I drag.

    I can't take ambien before the first night shift because I have usually shifted myself back to a "regular" day/night schedule. I've slept all night... and if I take one when I wake up, then it only works for about 3 hours... it has a short half life. However, if I stay up for a while...lets say three PM or so... I am just tired enough that it would kick me into sleeping for about 8 hours. I'd have to get up and.... drag. Nyquil is a no go. UNISOM doesn't work.


    What do I do? I can't stand this anymore.
    I have a dark room, thick blinds and dark drapes. I'm getting so frusterated I just want to cry!!!
    Try keeping yourself on the same sleep schedule, even on nights off. That way you won't have to rotate your schedule every time you work. If you don't feel like you can sleep when you first get home, do something relaxing like reading or watching TV. When you start to feel drowsy, try lying down. Get back up if you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes or so. The melatonin is great- take a dose a few hours before you plan on going to sleep. Some people just cannot do nights and that may be the situation with you, but try keeping the same schedule all week before you get too frustrated. It may be hard at first, but it will get better eventually!
  6. by   tiroka03
    I understand very very well what your are going through. I work nights mostly. I put in approx 13 days of work in 14 days time. This is because the EX decieded it was inconvient to pay child support. So, any way back to topic on hand.


    I have found that a couple things work almost all the time for me, however there are the occasional days, nothing under the sun will get me to sleep.

    First, I bought a memory foam mattress pad and memory foam pillow with down inside. I then bought insulation for panelling a home and put it in my windows. I also places light blocking shades and drapes over that. I then put a heating pad on the bed turned to medium (but you gotta use one that automatically turns off) I take a hot bath and then jump in bed. That is what I do during winter. During summer I open one window to get a little air, or I would sufficate in my room. Up north here, hardley anyone has airconditioning.

    I used to have my room in the basement to minimze noise, but my son took over the basement, and I chose the room farthest away from the street. We live on a very busy street. During the spring/summer/fall, I run my water fountian in the back yard and the running water is soothing as well.

    I have tried putting lavendar on my pillow, but I end up sniffing it, like a nut. I start to wonder how long the scent will last, and before you know it my mind is waking up instead of sleeping. So, I try to use my imagination and think about something that each night I could add on to. For instance, I imagine while I am in bed, that I am building a house. Each night I pick out furniture and appliance, things in my mind, or do the wiring, or plumbing. Its amazing how easy house building is in your imagination. After about a month or so, I have a brand new imaginary house, and a lot of sleep as well. Then I start a new story in my head, such as being in a wagon train, and stocking your wagon and the long treadous trip west, and finally setting up in the West. This occupies my otherwise busy mind, and keeps me from rehashing what just went on at work.

    Might sound a little crazy, but it works for me. And someday, I may write down my daydreams and publish a book, who knows.

    Hope it helps.
  7. by   CHPN1680
    I don't want to sound defeatist but I think that some people just are not meant to work the night shift. I am one of them. I tried all of the above suggestions with no success. At 4:30 a.m, I swear, it was all I could do to stay awake. At 7:30-8:00 a.m., I was awake and ready to start the day! Room darkening blind,white noise machines, etc.. I managed to last 3 months at which point, I decided that it just wasn't worth it!

    I was lucky enough not to have any responsibility to family, children at the time. Hope that is your case and that you have choices or that you finally find a solution. I know how hard it is. Good luck to you. Just remember, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.
  8. by   Peg804
    Night shift is tough-don't know how my mother did it for 45 yrs. When I do nights I find that I have to come straight home-no errands, no chatting in the parking lot, take a shower and go to bed-I put the radio or tv onto some quiet music. Usually I can sleep until 1 or 2. If I try to nap in the evening like some of my coworkers-like from 7 - 10, I feel like I have a hangover. On my days off I would set the alarm for 11 am and make myself get up. If not I would not sleep that night. Glad I only do nights or doubles sporatically now. I work 4 10 hrs shifts either 1p -11p or 3p - 1a. One doctor I worked with years ago did steady nights-she did not change her sleep pattern when she was off. She would go home in the am, sleep and then stay up all night doing whatever needed to be done, cleaning, shopping, etc. and then sleep in the am.
    Good luck to you-my sister-in-law just became an LPN and she is on nights at a nursing home. She cannot get enough sleep-goes to bed in am and some days sleeps until it is time to go back to work. I feel for her :zzzzz
  9. by   live4today
    I just left a good paying job all because I could NOT tolerate working the nightshifts any longer. It used to be my shift of choice when I was "younger", but now that I've "matured in years", it no longer works for me. I stayed sick at my stomach all the time, had major frontal headaches, a feeling of being "out of body" all the time, and couldn't sleep even with a sleeper onboard. I struggled with the decision to leave, even asked to stay onboard on another shift, but the hospital wasn't about to be "flexible to a nurse" -- God forbid! So, now I'm job hunting again for days or day/evening, or evenings......never again nights. It's up to us to take care of our health. No one else will.
  10. by   prmenrs
    Make sure you have sunglasses on before you even get to the front door of the hospital. Cut off caffiene after ~ 2-4am, but keep drinking water. Eat an apple on the way home. Don't take off the shades til you're in that darkened room. If you let sunlight hit your eyes (actually your retina), you'll possibly reset your body clock, which makes it harder to get good sleep.

    I wish you luck--I can't do it now, but I have done my share!
  11. by   jeepgirl
    Quote from BobL
    I don't want to sound defeatist but I think that some people just are not meant to work the night shift. I am one of them. I tried all of the above suggestions with no success. At 4:30 a.m, I swear, it was all I could do to stay awake. At 7:30-8:00 a.m., I was awake and ready to start the day! Room darkening blind,white noise machines, etc.. I managed to last 3 months at which point, I decided that it just wasn't worth it!

    I was lucky enough not to have any responsibility to family, children at the time. Hope that is your case and that you have choices or that you finally find a solution. I know how hard it is. Good luck to you. Just remember, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.
    it isn't :-(
    i have a three year old that i want to spend time with and a husband that works a regular job.
    Thank you for your replies. I appriciate all the help and advice i can get.
    Last edit by jeepgirl on Mar 3, '05
  12. by   Dixiecup
    I agree with the other poster that stated keep the same sleep schedule. When I worked nights, I slept in the day and stayed up all night even on my days off so I didn't have to flip back and forth. It's the only way my body and mind would tolerate it. It worked pretty well for me.

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