New To Night Shift - page 2

Hi everyone! I just recently switched from working 40 hour straight PM shifts for the past six months. I am now working WE program, Sat/Sun 7:00-7:30am and am suffering terribly. One of the... Read More

  1. by   grandee3
    I started 12hr nights 9 years ago. I was coming from 12hr days. I never schedule myself for 3 in a row. I was 53 when I started it.
    I would go to bed the night before my 12, around 11 or MN. I would sleep until 11 or 12 the morning of my first shift.
    When I got off in the morning I went home, showered and went to bed. Was usually alseep about 8:30am. Got up and did it again that night. This went on for about 3 years. Somewhere along the way, my body told me that it was'nt working that way. So I started going to the grocery, making dr appts., hair appts etc in the morning when I got off. Then I would go home and lay in bed and watch TV until 11 or 12. I would sleep until 430p i I had to go back and 6pm if I was off. No matter how much I try, I cannot get my body back to falling asleep right when I got home. I really would like to do it they way I did it in the beginning but I don't want to mess with it. The other was easier because it gave me more time with my family.
    I never understood how my friends at work could stay awake running errands until noon when that got off at 7am. Now, I do it all the time.
    I think you will be fine, it gonna take a little while until you get adjusted. It it not for you, your body will let you know. What every pattern you get in, stick with it. I still try once in a while to go to sleep before by 830am but I just can't do it.
    Do you drink coffee? A cup or 2 might help if you stop drinking it by 4am. Every night I work I have to have a cup of coffee at 2am. That must be the time I start to go down.
    Let us know how it's going, and best of luck to you.
  2. by   KneKno
    Starting work at 7a, 3 meals, docs rounding, visitors, PT, social workers, case managers, management, where's my chart?! Who would want days? I've worked nights for over 20 years, the first 2 were 8's, 12's since then, full time until 2 years ago (now, usually 2 shifts/week, but pick up an extra once or twice a month).
    Some people are physically unable to do nights, they are never able to make the adjustment. however, I really encourage everyone to try.
    My suggestions: Discuss the possibility of melatonin supplementation with your Dr.; try to avoid carby foods at work (seems like that's the choice though) and eat something with a bit of carbs when you come home--some rice, piece of fruit, not sugar); no heavy housework and nap if you can that first day, laying down and getting some rest (not on the couch with the TV on) is better than nothing; the first day off is ususally sleep deprived--I get about 4 hrs sleep that morning, then take NSAIDS and try to get outside for a while and do something that doesn't involve much driving!
    I graze at work--boiled eggs, scrambled eggs made in the micro, beef jerky, cheese sticks, handful of nuts, sliced pepperoni, salad from home with some leftover meat.
    Feeling sick between 3-5 am--I can't find any easily readable references, but it's a hormonal (cortisol and melatonin) thing. I think it's the cortisol release, normal circadian rhythm but we're usually sleeping and so don't feel the yucky effects. I drank a lot of spearmint tea the first year I worked.
    Welcome to the Dark Side! Good Luck, Michele
    Last edit by KneKno on May 3, '09 : Reason: Forgot to add
  3. by   Magsulfate
    I worked night shift for two years and I felt like I was asleep for the WHOLE TWO YEARS.

    Then,, one day I woke up and started doing day shifts.

    I really felt like I have lost those two years. It is all just a haze.
  4. by   Midwest4me
    Quote from pennynickeldime_rn
    lol! i had to laugh at your post kcochrane because i am 54! and i am certain i am too old for this
    i smiled/laughed at the post (by kcochrane) too as i'm 50 and been doing nocs for nearly 5 years now(used to do 3 12-hr shifts but for the past 3 years have done four 10-hr shifts). it's hard working nocs. i, too, have gained weight---just not as active on the noc shift as i was on day or swing shifts.

    but here's a question for you, pennynickeldime. why can't you get a nap on saturday afternoon before your shift? is it due to kids still around? i really urge you to try relaxation exercises, a book, warm milk, etc. i lay down about 6hrs before my shift, read a good book for about 45mins-1 hour and pray i get maybe 4-hr nap. that gets me thru my first 10-hr shift just fine.
  5. by   Ploppers
    I have worked nights for about a year and a half now. I love it, but some of my co-workers have a hard time, so I looked up night shift on You really should check it out! It is a study on how to regulate your sleep and how to help when your tired on nights. It helped my co-workers... hopefully it'll help you!
  6. by   nkara
    I started working nights a little over a year ago. It took me a solid 6 months to get used to it. I work full time as well so that might be to my advantage. I 'Made" myself stay up later in the morning. I leave work and stay up till about noon or later... this is because I started going back to school again in the AM. So now I go to be around 1 or 2 pm and wake up at 8:30 pm to be at work for 11:00. Of course I have no life... but at least I usually get a good 5 hours or 6 hours of sleep a day. Like I said it does take a long time to adjust. Since you are only working weekends I don't know if you will.... Hopefully it will get easier for you though. I no longer almost fall asleep at work or driving home so that's a plus too.
  7. by   kcochrane
    Quote from PennyNickelDime_RN
    LOL! I had to laugh at your post kcochrane because I am 54! and I am certain I am too old for this
    I have no idea how the "younger" folk are able to switch back and forth so easily. Or how some of them only sleep 2 or 3 hours a day before coming in again. Love nights, but I need my sleep or I get cranky.
  8. by   jjensen
    I work two to three 12 hour night shifts and it works for me. I try to take an hour or two nap on my first night and then I come home and sleep from about 10-3... Then I go to work and do it again. On my nights off, I sleep until about 1 so I can sleep the following night. I am lucky that I don't need much sleep. I do get nauseated when I first wake up and cannot eat, but I deal with that. Good luck and maybe nights is not for you. They work best for me because my husband can get the kids on the bus in the AM and I am home when they get home. I can still spend some time with them and eat supper before heading to work...
  9. by   PennyNickelDime_RN
    I don't know how you do it with children. I just came off my Sat/Sun 12 hr. NOC shifts and it is 3:15pm and I feel as if I didn't sleep at all... The other thing I am finding is that it is so slow at work most of the time with the exception of always getting an admission it seems around 4am just when stuff starts to get busy again. I don't know if I made the right decision going from full time PM's to weekend program with one PM/week.

    Fortunately for me, I can fall asleep at the regular time after sleeping all day the days I work. I hope that lasts otherwise there would be no possible way I could continue doing this.

    Thanks for your post and I hope things improve for you somewhat :smiletea2:
  10. by   daniedi77
    I have worked night shift for years and it is a huge adjustment to your body. I work Sat and Sun. 16 hour shifts now. My advise to you is that you try and stay up on Friday nights as late as you can, do laundry or clean up. Then get up early on Sat. and run errands, work out, do something physical so you can take a nap before work that night. When you get off in the morning go home and eat. It helps to eat something heavy like pancakes or oatmeal, it will help you fall asleep. IF ALL ELSE FAILS you can always take a tylonal or advil PM. I myself have to take Ambian due to insomnia, but I know plenty of nurses who take Benedrly, niquil or some other OTC med to fall asleep. Night shift isn't for everybody, you will find out over time if you can deal with it.. Also, don't eat any big meals during your shift, it'll ake you sleepy. Good luck
  11. by   PennyNickelDime_RN
    Another question about NOC's. Are you bored d/t patients sleeping and nothing to do? It is driving me insane.
  12. by   daniedi77
    If there is a point where you have nothing to do, exercise, just small stuff cuz if you sit still long enough you will get comfortable and SLEEPY. Listen to music, read, clean up. When I get sleepy I start to stock or bleach down everything.
  13. by   kcochrane
    Quote from PennyNickelDime_RN
    Another question about NOC's. Are you bored d/t patients sleeping and nothing to do? It is driving me insane.
    It really depends on the unit and the night. My unit is busy because we are a long term respiratory unit. I'm busy from the time I come in until about 1:30ish. That includes the first med pass, counting narcs, writing up assignments, doing the census and calibrating the BG machines. We have pretty good down time between 2 and 4:30. I study for school so it keeps me occupied. If I'm not busy at school, I will read a book. About once a week we have nights where we don't have much down time due to sick residents or needy residents. I know some of the other units in my facility are very boring, so we are probably unique.

    The biggest reason I like nights is that I can spend more time with my residents when they need it. I don't feel rushed and I can do extra things.