How to adjust to night shift sleep schedule?

  1. Hi all! I'm a recent nursing school grad and just finished up orientation a few weeks ago. I was on days for orientation and now I am on nights (1845 to 0715). What I have trouble with is falling asleep at a decent time on my off days. My coworkers told me that on their off days, they go to bed no later than 3am and get up by noon or so. I want that so badly!! Yet I can't seem to fall asleep earlier than 7am every day! I have tried setting an alarm around noon but I just sleep through it or I will turn off the alarm and be so tired and out of it that I immediately fall asleep and sleep until 4 or 5pm, basically wasting my entire day. I have tried melatonin 3 mg and benadryl 50mg to try to fall asleep around 1 or 2am, but they don't seem to affect me anymore. I have tried doubling up the melatonin but I end up feeling sick to my stomach when I wake up. Also, when I do wake up I am groggy for a good 3 or so hours and coffee doesn't seem to help it. None of this is affecting my work thankfully because I feel incredibly alert through my shift.

    My question is how in the world can I get to sleep at a decent time on my off days and wake up at noon and stay up?
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    About hp131071

    Joined: Aug '17; Posts: 4; Likes: 3
    from IL , US


  3. by   faith010
    You can't force your body to do things. I myself am able to sleep at night on my nights off, however whenever I go back to work the next night I wind up staying awake for close to 24 hours straight.
  4. by   pro-student
    You talked about medications but what about your sleep hygiene? Do you have a bedtime routine? Sometimes things like relaxing scents, sleepy-time tea, reading, etc... help. Avoid screens, bright lights, and physical activity before you want to fall asleep.But the schedule you aiming for is really fighting your body's circadian rhythm. You could try gradually moving the time up from 7am like 15-30 min every couple days.
  5. by   amoLucia
    There have been buckets and buckets and buckets of VERY GOOD information written on this subject in many previous posts here. Please check them out if you haven't done so already.

    You might just pick up on ONE thing that sounds so simple to the masses, but, dang, it'll work for YOU.

    In a nutshell, I found that I had to decompress and turn off the job before I went home. And then I found that I tried to maintain normal 'people time hours' on my time off. I saw many a specific technique offered here that synched with me along those lines.