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Can't sleep!

Nurses   (1,374 Views 5 Comments)
by JenRN2013 JenRN2013 (New) New

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I'm an RN on the night shift, so I work about 3 nights per week but not always consecutively. Regardless of the schedule though, I can't seem to sleep at a regular hour (like 11pm when my husband goes to sleep!). I find myself restless in bed when I try to force myself to sleep and then I just get frustrated and watch TV or search the web. I don't want to waste the following day sleeping, so are there any suggestions for sleeping at night on my nights off? I have tried different types of tea, wine, hot showers, reading... I'm open to ideas, however I do not want to resort to medication. Thanks!

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

1 Follower; 3,520 Posts; 32,211 Profile Views

I worked night shift for 14 yrs as a sleep technologist and will again once I am off orientation for nursing, but I gave up trying to flip back to sleeping at night on my days off. My body got accustomed to staying wake during the night that I couldn't go to sleep before 2 am. I once tried to sleep when I got home from work at 7 am and take a nap until 10 am, stayed awake until 10 pm and went to sleep. Problem was I woke up at midnight and couldn't fall asleep until 6 am. I gave up trying to fight it and just go to bed before 4 am on my days off.

What you are trying to ask your body to do is similar to asking a day shift person to stay awake to 7 am on their days off and sleep during the day. Your body needs consistency and routine.

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westieluv has 26 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice.

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I work four nights a week right now and I find that if I come home on my day off and go right to bed by 8 AM and then get up by 11 AM or noon, I am tired enough by 9 or 10 PM to go back to sleep and sleep all night. Like you, OP, I don't want to come to rely on medication to control my sleep cycles, that scares me.

I am stubborn, and I am determined that this night gig will be temporary, therefore I refuse to give in and become a night person every day of the week, even on my days off. I find it depressing to be up when it's dark out and everyone else is sleeping if I'm not working and there's nothing to do except channel surf or sit at the computer killing time.

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Ayvah has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Med Surg, Specialty.

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Agreed with Don. When I worked night shift I slept during the day even on my days off, it seemed to be gentlest on my body. Is this something you can do OP?

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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I know you said you wanted to sleep when your husband does and that you'd prefer not to use drugs. I think probably you're going to have to give in on one or the other of those. Either stay on a night shift schedule and sleep when you usually do . . . you'll still have evenings with your husband. Or use drugs. Ambien works.

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