I hate night shift

  1. I have been working night shift for about 9 months now. I thought it would get easier, but it just gets harder. I feel so bad all the time. My days off are spent sleeping. And if I do have to get up early for something, I feel just horrible. I don't get to spend any time with my family. The only reason I stay at my job is because I really like it. But I am willing to do just about anything else as long as it is day shift. I don't know how people work nights for years and years. I thought I would like not having to get up early, but I would do just about anything to get off nights. Unfortunately it's not easy to go to days at my current job. There is a waiting list, and it's very long. It would be 2-3 years before I even got a chance to go to days. Just wondering how everyone deals with this awful shift for long?
  2. Visit carrie_c profile page

    About carrie_c

    Joined: Dec '10; Posts: 249; Likes: 233


  3. by   Davey Do
    Quote from carrie_c
    My days off are spent sleeping. And if I do have to get up early for something, I feel just horrible. I don't get to spend any time with my family.
    We can change our Circadian Cycle, but we must basically stay with the Same Cycle if we desire comfort, carrie.

    I have worked all three shifts and found it not to my liking. I do best on one shift only. I've been working a straight MN Shift for nearly 10 years and have had no major problems. The thing is, when I'm off, I stay on a MN Schedule with generally no change in my Sleeping Hours.

    My Lifestyle affords this schedule. My SO, Belinda, is also a MN Nurse, so we're on the same schedule.

    Most People cannot stay on a MN Schedule due to Family Matters and other Responsibilities. It is, generally, a 9 to 5 world out there.

    From my perspective, you have Limited Obtions: Stay on a MN Schedule, forsake your Day Life, and be comfortable or continue as you're currently doing and deal with it.

    Good Luck to you.
  4. by   sauconyrunner
    Oh I feel for you! I hate night shift too! Put your name on the list, and let your Nurse Manager know that you are having some difficulty with night shift, possibly they can assist with moving your name up. Nope that is not "FAIR" perse, but it is your life, and if they want to keep you, they may help you. They might not, but at least you tried.

    I found that different types of scheduling helped me with night shift. (I've done it at several points in my career, never loved it....except for the times when we could have IV pole races and things that you just can't do when admin is in the building.)

    I either worked all 3 shifts in a row and then took 4 days off...or I would do a MWF type thing. So you either get them all in at one time, or spread it out so that you are not really changing.

    Best wishes to you.
  5. by   PennyWise
    I once felt just as you do. My eating schedule was crap, I slept all the time, missed appointments and became a Pepsi/Dr. Pepper addict (well, I guess it was just the caffiene but you get the point).

    I ended up leaving my position (the unit I was on was overloaded with day/evening nurses and very short on night shift help, I had no chance of getting off nights there) and went to a place that allowed me to work mostly days with occasional nights. After about a year, I basically had my batteries recharged.

    Now, I am at the hospital I want to retire from working..............all nights, and its not a problem. One big thing that is different is that I only work three 12s/week. But, I honestly feel as though the time I had before coming here, the time I spent "recharging the batteries" was the key.

    Any chance you could ask your manager for a break from them with the understanding that you would return? You might have the same experience I did.

    Addendem: Sorry, just reread your OP and saw about the waiting list and all. Guess I wansn't much help.
  6. by   Always_Learning
    No advice, just.....I feel ya.
  7. by   Julie19
    I work three twelve hour shifts, strictly on the weekends. When I get off Monday mornings I sleep until around 11a then make myself get up and stay up. It's a struggle and I'm usually groggy for a couple hours but then I'm good for the rest of the week.
    Some people just can't hack night shift. I'm sorry you're going through this. As much as you love your job, you still may have to go hunting for a day shift position. Good luck!
  8. by   Been there,done that
    No can do nights here! I was on them for 9 months also. Sooo messed up ... I slept the entire time I wasn't at work.
    I actually LOST WEIGHT WITHOUT TRYING! (wish I could go back on them for a while.

    No job is worth feeling that way or risking your health!
    Find something else STAT.

    Good luck, keep us posted.
  9. by   msjellybean
    Understand your pain & wish I had some helpful advice, but I don't.

    I worked nights for a year and a half in my first nursing job & even though it was where I had always wanted to be & loved the patients, etc. - I had to leave. I got to the point where I was only sleeping for about 4 hours at any point (whether or not I was working that night), my migraines were awful, and I was just miserable to be around. On my old floor, dayshift was almost impossible to get. So I made the sacrifice and moved to a different floor with a population that I'm "meh" about, so I could have dayshift. Best decision I've ever made.
  10. by   Aliakey
    I've worked night shifts (19:00 to 07:00 following a 3 shifts on string, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off, etc.) for years and really love it now. Didn't at first because I kept fighting the schedule and ended up feeling tired all of the time/difficulty sleeping issues. I love my work now, have no administrators visiting, and that shift differential is very nice on the paycheck. However, many will not be able to adjust to the schedule, and I certainly would not hesitate to get on that waiting list "just in case" you are of the majority; easier to decline an available day slot than to continue to wait out the night shift that doesn't work for you.

    Thoughts that may help:

    * Always turn off your phone when you sleep during the day, and if friends/family cannot abide by "do not call me during the day unless its an emergency" after a few kind reminders, calling them at 02:00 to just see what's up usually gets the point across.

    * Difficult to do, but avoid drinking anything at work about an hour before leaving shift (if in a middle of a string of shifts). If you wake up for a pee break and see the bright sun glaring back at ya through the window, it's hard to get back to sleep.

    * Turn on a fan in your room or use a sound generator to drown out daytime noise from family and the world out there. Get black-out curtains. The west Texas sun must be harsh because I have two sets of these curtains to do the job right, but it helps a lot!

    * Like Julie19, my last day of a string of shifts is not spent sleeping hours upon hours. Just a couple of hours right after I get home, and then I wake up and do something constructive until night. For me, it works out to sleep through the night like a regular person on my days off and function normally through the next day. I have a family I can't neglect as well, lol!

    * I don't seem to have a problem with switching from night to day functionality, as long as I do two things: 1. Force myself to take even a one hour (or more) afternoon nap on my days off, which helps trick my brain into a "sleeping before your night shift" routine. 2. If I feel the need to wake up at 2 in the morning, I do so and stay up for awhile studying or ???. Then I go back to sleep in an hour or so. No sense fighting it, and I am not groggy in the morning.

    Hope it helps some in getting you through.
  11. by   blondy2061h
    I have been on nights for the better part of 4 years now. Here's my advice:

    I work 7p-7:30a. I am fortunate to only have a 20 minute drive into work and maybe 30 minutes home (traffic). I plan on doing very little else beside sleeping/working/eating on my 3 day stretches on. I might throw a load of laundry in or empty the dishwasher or water my plants but that's about it. I get home at 8 and try to get in bed as soon as possible. I do have a bedtime routine, though. I have found that to be helpful in falling to sleep more easily. Typically I get home, have a bowl of cereal, take a shower, then read for a bit or watch tv. I try and be in bed by 9, 9:30ish and get up at 5, 5:30ish. I do everything in my power to group my shifts together. I often take Benadryl my first day trying to sleep, then am okay the next two. Get dark shades/blinds. I usually throw a blanket over the window for darkness too. I never sleep with my windows open. I have a ceiling fan and humidifier for white noise. I don't shy away from using the AC in the summer because I just can't sleep when I'm warm and it's not worth fighting it.

    My first day off I try and get up by 2 or 3 pm then go to bed at 2am that night. I sleep 2a-10a on my days off. That works for me. I'm not too far off from my regular schedule and I am still up for most of the day.

    I once thought that "sleep hygiene" wasn't possible when working nights, but that is wrong. I try and avoid caffeine 8 hours before bed. If I'm having a hard time staying awake I'll chug water and have a crunchy snack- carrots, apple, pretzels. That usually does the trick. Thankfully, on my unit, the last 2 hours or so tend to be very busy. Also, having a routine to tell my body to unwind has been priceless. I can't sleep with things on my eyes, but darken the room as much as possible, use white noise, silence your cell phone, and keep your room as comfortable as possible. The reading/TV/talking on phone before bed really helped take my mind off work, something I had a hard time with when I first started.

    I've also found trying to be active helps me to stay awake on my days off. Fresh air and natural sunlight help wake me up a lot! I usually try and have a fun plan for my first evening off to help me drag out of bed. One of my coworkers drinks a lot before bed that day so they have to get up and pee. Not for me, but whatever floats your boat.

    Good luck! Keep at it and you'll figure out a routine that at least mostly works.
  12. by   classicdame
    I worked nights for several years and adjusted by trying to maintain the "night" schedule during the rest of the week. But I did not have kids at home.

    My method of getting on days was to return to school for my MSN which made me eligible for day jobs
  13. by   LpnSocks
    Good nutrition change your eating habits to better adapt to nights an no junk hardy good for you stuff as well as hydrate or die literally. Also try to if you get off from a shift to be off that night take only an hour nap an continue the day as regular. Good exercise also helped me. I had a light snack went to sleep when I awoke a bowl of cereal that night ate lunch around 12 then at 3 a small booster snack high protein lo carb an a small 6 am snack with lots of water I did nights 3 years, this helped me
  14. by   Morainey
    I feel your pain, Carrie. I feel like I can't shake the "fuzzy brain feeling" at work that I get at about 3am.