Part time night shift worker. Difficulty sleeping!

  1. I work part time nights (11pm-7:30am) and usually when it's my first night to work I will wake up at my usual time in the morning (8-9am) and take a 3 hour nap before my shift. And then when I get off of work, will go to sleep right away and sleep for 4-5 hours then sleep again for another 3 hours before my shift. I used to have no problems sleeping before, I would knock out right after my shift and would need my alarm to wake me up. Lately, I come home, and I'm just wide awake and cannot sleep for the life of me. It could be that I am part time and I'm always switching my sleep schedule, but this was never a problem before so I don't understand why it's a problem now. I don't know what I can do to help me sleep. I do take benadryl sometimes but I hate putting medication in my body like that. And also, I wear an eye mask and ear plugs when I sleep.
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    About Pmis

    Joined: Aug '16; Posts: 2; Likes: 1
    from CA , US


  3. by   meanmaryjean
    One thing to remember is that sunlight falling on the retina suppresses melatonin and drives wakefulness. So a really helpful suggestion is to wear sunglasses from the time you clock out until you go to bed.
    You know how much easier it is to go to sleep when you drive home in the winter darkness or on a rainy morning? Same principle.
    I hope this is helpful.
  4. by   Jedrnurse
    Do you belong to a gym? Some people benefit from a workout after their shift to help them sleep. (Not everyone though; some folks are even more bright-eyed and bushy tailed.)

    Also, OTC melatonin can be helpful as well. You can alternate between that and Benadryl to lessen the chance of accommodating to either and having them lose their efficacy. I know you said you don't like taking anything, but if it's a choice between okay sleep and chronic under sleep...
  5. by   BayAreaCARN
    Hello. Like yourself I work nights and have encountered this exact problem. I have recently joined a gym so sometimes I will go there for about an hour go home and sleep and there's times when I don't go and will just go home shower and decompress for about an hour before I lay down with hopes to sleep. What I have done is hang two black out curtains so no light comes through. I was taking 10mg melatonin but started feeling too drowsy when I woke up so I started using NyQuil zzz which is essentially benedryl. My coworkers have told me about a "sleep aid" that Costco sells but they endorse that it is strong and you need about 7-8 hours you can dedicate to sleep. I haven't tried it but unfortunately I know people who have been prescribed Ativan and stronger meds cuz they can't sleep! Hopefully we don't get there!! Some nights I am so busy tho that I have no problem knocking out the minute I step in the door. Hopefully this helps a little, sorry if it didn't.
  6. by   irvine123
    you will be alright, some people sleep 3-4 hours a day with kids and work night shift.
  7. by   dinah77
    Quote from irvine123
    you will be alright, some people sleep 3-4 hours a day with kids and work night shift.
    Sorry, but that's pretty flippant advice- the people doing 3-4 hours while trying to watch kids isn't a good idea- It's dangerous to be a nurse and be chronically sleep deprived- either your health will suffer, or your patient's and eventually both WILL be affected

    I used to work full time, 12 hour shifts, straight nights (0.60) and the ONLY reason I was able to do it with a kid was because at that time my husband was a stay at home parent, finishing his Phd and doing online adjunct work

    That meant I was able to come home, go straight to bed, and not worry about anything else except sleep and making it through my next shift

    OP please disregard this advice of "you'll be alright" take your sleep and health seriously, but it sounds like you probably do already

    Last thing I'll say is a small minority of people are able to come home from NOC shifts and go straight to bed with no meds other help- most of us need some kind of pill- remember, we are reversing our natural sleep schedules here- humans are diurnal not nocturnal - if you want to stick with NOC shifts, I suggest you learn to get over that not wanting to take pills thing- other things that helped me, room darkening curtains, white noise and a sleep hypnosis app