Night Shift Nurse...I Can't Sleep at Night anymore.. - page 2

:roll :roll I have been working nights for about six months now...actually i really like it...the pay is better, i have no problem sleeping during the day or staying up at night...the problem is my... Read More

  1. by   Jenny P
    I worked nights for something like 12-14 years and started working evening Baylor shifts back in January. I still have nights when I can't sleep til 3AM or later.

    What worked for me was I always slept at the same time everyday. And for me my schedule was to come home and eat something light, use the room darkening shades, put on an Enya CD, take some tylenol (if needed, but not the PM or Benadryl) and then I'd get up somewhere between 3 and 4:30 PM.

    That way I'd be up when the kids got home from school, I'd be sociable in the eves for my family, and my schedule would not affect others. If I had nights off, I'd stay up until I felt tired (and it might not be til 4 or 5AM), then go to sleep til noon. I never got up before noon unless on vacation! That was MY SLEEP TIME, and my family and friends all knew it!

    For those who repeatedly would call or wake me before noon, I found that a telephone call at 1 or 2 AM a few times (just to "chat") would finally get my message across! If my DH would have insisted on my being up before that, I would have probably killed him. If there was a real reason for me to be up before noon; he always would bring me a strong cup of coffee and set it on the bedside table and then leave the room-- I'd hear him enter, and the smell of freshly-ground GOOD coffee would gently wake me!
  2. by   Tweety
    Originally posted by Kristi2377
    I am having this very problem, and have been for about a year. My husband, bless his heart, does NOT seem to understand this. He worked nights many years ago as a security guard, and claims that he had no problem sleeping during the day- and going to bed THE SECOND he got home from work in the morning, and being awake all night. This was before I met him. Here's how it is for me. If I'm off the weekend, and have to go to work on Monday night: I get off Friday morning. I am so adrenalized that I cannot go to sleep. I stay up until 2 in the afternoon, finally collapsing in bed (I have to exhaust myself by reading or getting online until my eyes are crossing to feel tired). I will sleep until 6pm, when my hubby will wake me up so we can eat, exercise, etc. I am up until 2am Saturday morning, then I go back to bed for a nap until about 7 or 9am. I get up, do stuff, am up until 6pm, at which point I am very tired. It's Saturday evening now. Hubby wants to go out, I want to sleep. We usually go out, then come back for 10 or 11, at which point I collapse in bed and sleep a whopping 5 or 6 hours, at WHICH POINT I am so wide awake my eyeballs won't shut. I get up again, now Sunday morning in the wee hours, am up until hubby gets up, we do stuff, I don't go to bed until 9pm or so. I sleep an amazingly short 4 or 5 hours, am wide awake again, get up. It's now Monday morning, and I am up until hubby goes to class, which is at 9. I continue to stay awake until 10 or 11, at which point I lay in bed for an hour trying to sleep. I have to work that night! I have slept only 22-26 hours since Thursday before work and now I have to go!!! I should have slept 32 hours (at 8 hours per sleep over 4 days) but am horribly short, and all of my sleep comes in small chunks. Nap here. Longer nap there. I am tired all the time, and my body doesn't know what to do with itself, and my husband acts like I am doing this on purpose. This is the sole reason we fight now. Period. He says I'm moody (ya think?), cranky (umm...), spacy (read: sleep deprived!!!). This has been going on for a year. I MUST be up during the day if I want to do certain things. I must be up at night because I have half-programmed my body to do that since I work night shift. I go to the 24 hour walmart to grocery shop (woohoo, that's one day every two weeks!). We have no 24 hour gym. I'm not allowed to clean at night because it wakes him up. So I not only have to be awake during the day, but I have to do housework when I'm supposed to be sleeping. It's neverending, I hate it, and the sad part is, I LOVE working nights. If I were single there would BE no problem. However, living in an apartment with someone on a day schedule is proving to be impossible!!!! GRrr. I'm sorry, it's just that we were fighting about this very thing last night and I wish I had a solution but I don't. :>(

    Kristi, boy do I hear you. Sometimes, when I have a stretch of days off like three or four days, I find myself sleeping a series of naps instead of a good 8 hours at a time. It's hard on the body working nights. People who don't do it and aren't nurses can hardly relate at all. I'm lucky my spouse works nights and understand. (Tell hubby since he has such a problem with it, he can feel free to do the housework so you can keep your rhythms going by sleeping more. :chuckle )
  3. by   traumaRUs
    I have 15 years of nights under my belt now and although I love the people I work with - am desperate to go to days, but not position available. I work 12s, come home and am in bed by 8, read until 8:15 and then sleep untill 3 or 3:30. I turn off the regular phone and have my cell on for emergencies. Everyone knows I work nights and they respect it. My husband is wonderful - have been married 23 years and he works days. I am a pretty deep sleeper though which makes it easier. Good luck, oh btw I save the benadryl for once every 6 months or so. After something awful happens at the end of the shift, usually.
  4. by   Disablednurse
    It has been 15 years since I worked nights and I had problems sleeping at night before working nights and after working nights. I am just a night person. I now sleep a lot because of the meds that I am on, so I wake and sleep at odd hours. Your internal clock is set for up with the sun and down with the night. Get some room darkening shades, cover your windows darker curtains or drapes to make the room more like night. ON your days off, sleep an hour or so in the morning, keep busy during the day and avoid anything that makes you sleepy. Chores can be done in the afternoon. Avoid watching a lot of television as it can make you sleepy. Just a few suggestions.
  5. by   Genista
    I think the hardest thing is to be working nocs all the time then expecting your body to flip into day shift patterns for a few days a week. I now work pm shift...and I keep the same sleep routine even on my days off. I rarely have trouble sleeping. I just tell people, "I work swing shift, and I go to bed late & get up late... "

    I did some mandatory nights last year, and I kept the same sleep cycle on my days off. I got home at about 8:15 am, and was in bed by 9-10 am. I would sleep till 4-4:30 pm. My husband works days, and it worked out okay. But then, we don't have kids.

    On my nights off, I would clean house, do laundry, read books, write letters, etc. at night. I would do my grocery shopping in non peak hours (like 8pm-11pm or 6am-8 am). It was a little lonely having different hours than the rest of the world, but at least I got my sleep. I really feel for those of you who aren't getting that rest!

    I have Tylenol pm in my cabinet for emergencies (I still pull doubles occasionally). It works like a charm (along with my blackout draperies).
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Kind of hard to force circadian rhythms to change on a dime. Better you stay up later on nights off and perhaps "cat nap" a bit so you can get thru the following day. This is precisely why I could not work fulltime nights with kids in my house.
  7. by   zambezi
    Thanks for all the replys...I guess I am on track...unlike some of you, i can sleep all day after a night shift, 8-5...its great, my days off are another story....usually if i wake up at night, just get up and watch a movie...take lots of daytime naps (probably some of the reason i can't sleep at night...)Lots of good ideas though, i just can't be a total night owl on my days off and keep the night schedule, too many day things to do, and i don't even have kids! I have to give kudos to everyone that has kids and works nights...i don't know how you do it...
  8. by   angelbear
    Ya know I used to almost envy my 3rd shift coworkers that could get by on very little sleep. I dont any more. It has taken me 4 yrs. and a chronic illness to realize, they may do more day time things than I do but they really are too friggen tired to enjoy it. Everyone pretty much understands that nurses have to work holidays. They usually just reply that illness doesnt stop just because it is a holiday. I have finally realized that it is the same with night shift, illness also doesnt care what time of day it is. As a matter of fact it is often more pronounced at night. Therefore someone has to work at night and that someone is you and I. We are entitled to our rest just as much as anyone else. I said all that to say this, I am no longer going to conform my 3rd shift life to the day shift world. I am up all night so they can get their rest let them do a little conforming so I can get mine.
  9. by   SharkLPN
    I make it a matter of sleeping when I'm tired until I'm rested. I'll get home from night shift at 8am, read the paper and shower, then hit the hay around 9a. Wake up around 3 or 4 pm, and start my day. Sometimes (especially in winter when it's dark and cold out when it's time to get up) I'll end up sleeping in until later than that. I just listen to what my body wants, but try to set limits. If I didn't, I'd never get out from under my sheets!

    On nights off, I'll stay up until 3 or 4 am, then sleep until 11 am so I feel more in touch with the 'real world'. Though I was having trouble for awhile with waking after about an hour and not being able to fall back asleep until the sun was well up.

    Helps that I'm single with no kids other than the furry variety.
  10. by   RNonsense
    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    I can't help you, because I can't understand the overwhelming need to sleep at night. I can't sleep at night either. So I get up, stay up, read, play on the computer, go to the 24-hour gym, the 24-hour Walmart, the 24-hour grocery store. You're asking your body to do horrible things by forcing it to sleep all night one night and stay awake the next. Why bother, if your not tired, get up. Sleep during the days on your days off if your tired, it isn't against the law.

    People say "I don't want to miss anything during the day". Well get up and do what you feel you can't miss out on, then go back to sleep.

    I've given up sleeping at night all the way through. I'm a creature of the night.
    That is a refreshing attitude!! I did straight nights for a couple of years when my baby was, well, a baby! She's three now so life is a bit more normal. I did what somebody mentioned earlier...sleep only a few hours on your first day off so you can turn your clock around again. Everyone is different though!
  11. by   webbiedebbie
    I find that a nice hot bath relaxes me enough to fall asleep. I agree with other posters....sleep when you are tired and do things when you are awake. I find myself here on this BB when I can't sleep. Perhaps invite others who are awake for a chat.
  12. by   mattsmom81
    I found what worked best for me was resisting the urge to sleep much during the day...just nap...and alternate work nights so I never really had to adjust to fulltime day sleeping. I kept my circadian rhythm intact.

    Agree we're all different in this night work/day sleep business. Good luck...hope you find what works best for you soon.
  13. by   ariamedico
    I knew intellectually that there must be lots of sleep challenged nurses like me out there, but to read so many great ideas and attitudes (you go 3rdShift Guy) was totally uplifting. I don't have any truly enlightened thoughts to add. I love the night shift, just hate the hours. My husband is a huge blessing in every way from beating the children into silence when I'm trying to sleep to not freaking when I'm up until 0500 on my nights off. I also draw a lot of strength from God. He lifts me up when I'd much rather be under the blankets. I used to need a lot more sleep than I do now. The only chronic health problem I can identify at this point is periodic expressive aphasia, LOL. It's great to be in such good nocturnal company. Do any of you ever check out the live chat room associated with this Web page? I might see some of you there some noc.