Night shift and EXTREME fatigue

  1. Just wondering if anyone else who works night shift experiences this. I get off work on Sunday mornings at around 7:30-8:00. I go home, go to bed, and usually dont get out of bed until Tuesday evening! I have slept up to 53 hours! Granted, I wake up long enough to use the bathroom or to roll over and go back to sleep. I just stay sooooooooo exhausted. If I do manage to make myself get out of bed, I dont feel like moving, literally! Then I will have periods that I cant sleep at all. Its driving me nuts, and I feel so unhealthy. I dont feel like exercising, but I do eat very healthy. Any others out there? Any advice? I cant get anything done anymore.
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    About chenoaspirit

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 1,043; Likes: 712
    HomeHealth Case Manager; from US
    Specialty: 4.5 years Med/Surg, currently HomeHealth


  3. by   Kimberleighsue
    i just started a 7pm to 7am shift and i was so tired for the next 2 days. i hope it gets better since that is going to be what i do full time
  4. by   clee1
    I have worked nights for years; this much I know for a fact: some people are just NOT built for it. You can do serious and lasting damage to yourself by continuing to force yourself into it.

    However, there are some things you can do. 1st off - FORCE yourself to get up after 8-10 hours of sleep. The more sleep you get, the more you want.

    Secondly, do your best to get home and into bed as early as possible: the longer you're awake during early daylight hours, the harder it will be to adjust your circadian rhythm. Conversely, if you CAN'T get right to sleep first thing - FORCE yourself to stay awake until noon and sleep in the afternoon and early evening.

    Eventually, if you can adjust at all to nights, you'll find the pattern that works best for you.

    Best of luck!
  5. by   WVUturtle514
    I agree with the above post, that nights just do not work for some people. I worked nights in the ICU for a little over a year and I was miserable. Don't get me wrong, I loved the unit and I loved the people that I worked with, but working nights wreaked havoc on my body.....both physically and mentally. I was always tired, I didn't have any energy, I was depressed, I never wanted to go do anything on my days off b/c I couldn't get on a normal schedule. Hopefully things will work out and your body will adjust, but if it's not working after awhile (as in my case) I suggest moving to a unit where you can work day shift.....I ended up transferring to a day shift position in the ER. Best of luck to you!!!
  6. by   chenoaspirit
    Well, Ive been doing this for about 7 months, and it hasnt gotten any easier. Maybe Im just one of those who arent made for it. I will definitely try forcing myself up after 8-10 hours sleep. Thanks for the advice. Hopefully it will get better.
  7. by   zacarias
    I do nights and have to make sure that I get up to be productive during my days off. I know exercise and eating healthier will help; I just need to take the first step.
  8. by   RN34TX
    Clee1 gave great advice and I tried all of it. It worked as best it could.
    I tried to go to bed as soon as possible after work in the morning and everything else, but I agree that some people are just not cut out for nights.
    My first RN job was in a great ICU with a great supportive team that I still miss today....but it was nights.
    I tried and tried. I agreed to give it 6 months, then a year. Then I had to face the fact that a permanent night schedule was turning my entire life into a nightmare.
    I still pitch in on a night shift when we are short here and there, but it's just not for me as a permanent full time schedule.

    I've always had trouble sleeping as it is, and night shift did nothing but make it worse.
    Thank God for night nurses that actually want to do it.
  9. by   emeraldjay
    I agree with the suggestion to force yourself out of bed after 8-10 hours of sleep. Keep the same sleep schedule even on days off, yes that means you will have to sleep during the daylight hours.

    What I do is stay up for several hours after working the 11-7 shift. I don't crawl into bed until at least 1pm. I also sleep in 3-4 hour stretches naturally. I am so accustomed to sleeping during the day that I now find it difficult to stay awake during the day/sleeping at night. Then again, that's a sign that I'm wired for night shift work. Now I just have to convince the workplace that my phone is not to ring after 3pm to call me in for an early start. LOL
  10. by   lorster
    I worked night shift for a couple of years and I eventually adjusted but it was hard. It was back in the days before 12 hour shifts were available at my hospital. One other suggestion I'd like to make is...if you work 12 hour shifts, try to work 3 in a row, or at least not work a night, off a night, work another night...and so on. This is really hard for some people and they never can get back on track. If you can handle three in a row, do it, and have a few days in a row off. At least this is what I'm hearing from most of our 12 hour night shifters. One other thing. Make sure your fatigue is not something else going on physically with you. Get in and see your doctor for a check up. Good luck.