Published May 28, 2009
I just started working this shift and since the job market is so bad I did not want to refuse it. But I cannot seem to get used to these hours. Does anyone have any tips that can help me adjust to this time change. I have a little one that gets off the bus at 3:30, so I have not been getting much sleep. I try to sleep after dinner while I put her to bed, but no luck. Once I am up, I am up. I need words of wisdom from the seasoned night shifters!!
When I worked this shift I would go home from work and have a bowl of hot oatmeal then take a hot shower and make my room very very dark then go straight to bed. The phone, tv and everything goes off. My kids school would only call my cell phone incase of an emergency. I got my best sleep during 8 to 2:30pm by then I would get up and prepare for the kids to get home. Once they were off the bus it was all routine, homework, dinner, baths, story and then bed. They would be out within the hour. I would then lay back down and relax until it was time to go to work, sometimes I fell asleep sometimes I wouldnt but the rest I got during the day made up for it. It was hard at first but after like a month my body got used to it. Oh and coffee and red bull helped too lol.
I have been working the 7p-7a shift and like you I have kids that get off the bus at 3:30. Normally, I only sleep about six hours. I have slept like that for as long as I can remember though. Even when I had a dayshift job, I would go to be at like 11p and get up at 4a. But honestly, I am a night owl so that helps too. You will eventually get used to it, it just takes time. And hey, look at it this way, nights like tonight, you can talk to people online. And the coffee and amp energy drinks work too.
I did the 11-7 shift for 2 yrs. It does take a couple of weeks or so getting your body acclimated to the time. I found that when you get home, taking a hot bath or shower helps. Also you want your room as dark as possible. I bought some navy blue curtains that helped darken my bedroom. I also found that chamomile tea is a great relaxer as well as the Celestial Seasonings sleepytime tea helps. I still drink my sleepytime tea with a bit of honey and I also would drink it to help me fall asleep after my 3-11 shifts:smiletea2:
On 11-7 would drift off to sleep about 8 or so when I got home and wake up refreshed around 2. I really enjoyed that shift because I had the rest of the day to spend with my family and could get chores and errands done no problem. And yes, really strong coffee and energy drinks help so much when you hit a slump. I love the Monster Java energy drinks. They are so good!
Best of luck!:)
Daytonite, BSN, RN
When you get home in the morning you need to go to sleep ASAP. Some of the things my mom did to sleep during the day was disconnect the phone and warn everyone not to bother her while she was sleeping. However, the biggest help was that she taped aluminum foil on the windows of her bedroom. It made the room absolutely BLACK so no light got into it. She put a rolled up towel under the door and set an alarm clock to wake her up and as long as no noise awakened her she slept pretty soundly. I slept in that room once or twice and, I tell you, I got disoriented when I woke up because it was so pitch black in that room. Physical relaxation helps to put you to sleep if you are already tired. Once you establish a routine it gets easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
As hard as it is to get used to nights, I find that I sleep better since I got some heavy blackout drapes for the windows. They are not very pretty, but they are worth it. I get home in the morning (wide awake from the long drive) and I take a hot shower, read a little and before I know it, I'm ready for sleep.
GrumpyRN63, ADN, RN
When I worked nites and my oldest was school age I would come home, eat usually an egg and cheese sandwich- couldn't sleep hungry and something fat and greasy really helped induce the zzzz's , hit the bed at 9 am sleep til 3p, hit the bus stop, do normal afternoon, evening routine, dinner, bath, etc. put him to sleep and I would go back right out about 9p for an hour power nap before the next shift. I would stop the coffee about 4 am, have the blackout shades, no phones at all, fan for white noise, worked out pretty well, on days off sleep til 1pm and as I am a nite owl anyway, go to sleep about 12:30 am or so.
All of the suggestions given are great. Let me add mine. First, I HATE WORKING DAY SHIFT!!! That makes 7p-7a easy for me. But I do have some tricks I have developed over the years.
If I stop at McD's for breakfast (there is merit to the fat and grease theory) on my way home I don't waste time making breakfast in the morning. I find if I put off going to bed beyond about 10AM, I get caught up in "busy-ness" and don't make it to bed until after noon!
I keep the air conditioner on well past when most people stop using it (I sleep better in the cold, plus the white noise is great) and I take a HOT bath right before I get between the sheets. I put the TV on something boring or "Atmosphere" music and just drift away. A sleep mask helps if you don't want to do the blackout drapes thing. Above all, turn the ringer off of the phone.
About the phone...Call that friend that always calls at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I wake you?" Call her/him at 1 or 2 in the morning and say the same thing! It only takes once.....
Remember..."Only the STARS come out at night!"
lol ... I love all the different ideas.
I have worked the 11p - 7:30a shift for over a year and it took me almost exactly 6 months to get used to it. I started trying to sleep when I first got home but I could only sleep till noon and then I felt like a zombie the rest of the day. Then I was starting to gear up for school. I decided to make myself stay up after work because of my classes being in the AM. I finally did and now I don't go to sleep until 1 pm or sometimes 2 pm and I wake up at 8:30 or so. I use earplugs and a sleep mask. They work wonders! Try all different ideas...everyone I talk to thinks I'm insane for staying up that late but I look at it this way. If I worked a regular 9 - 5 job I'd be up after work for at least 4 or 5 hours before bed.. so I just adjusted my schedule and now I'm backwards! but it works for me!
I think if your children are school aged or you have no children, it is easier to adjust. I have a 3 y/o and a 4 y/o at home so sleeping as soon as I get home is out of the question. I never get more than 4 hours sleep at any given time. I have done 3rd shift for almost a year now and I gave my notice. My body has never gotten used to it. It really is too bad too, because I have a great work schedule and great co-workers and it is the lowest stress environment I have ever worked in!
Thanks for all the tips everyone, great ideas! Never thought of the tin foil, what a great idea!!!! Then again all of her posts are great! I am glad to see that most of you are getting the same amount of sleep as me, I thought I was missing out on something. I could never seem to get more then six, I find my self to wired when I get home (as tired as I am) to go straight to bed. I have started to take a dose of benedryl (per Dr.) and that has helped. Thanks again for all the replies, keep them coming!
86toronado, BSN, RN
I am also one of those people that hates the day shift. I would so much rather be up all night than get up at (or before) the crack of dawn. I tend to get home right around 8am, and go right to bed (no problem not being tired here), sleep until 2-4, depending on how tired I am. Then I get up and have the whole day ahead of me (well... the whole day for me anyway, I am a chronic late sleeper :)
One tip I don't think anyone has mentioned yet is background noise. I sleep with a fan on year round, and I have a "noise machine" that makes a rain sound. Between those two, I don't hear anything that goes on outside my bedroom!
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