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How to toggle between nights and days

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by hbgwan hbgwan, LPN, LVN (Member)

5,093 Profile Views; 236 Posts

Hi everybody. I have been reading about nights vs. days. In college I worked nights at a fiberglass factory (6p - 6a) and it took three weeks to get my sleep schedule worked back around to sleeping at nights.

For those who work at nights, my question is this: how do you toggle between sleeping at night and sleeping during the day? My guess is that on your days off you don't "keep" your regular hours (up all night, sleep all day). Maybe some of you do, but for those who don't, what are your sleep patterns like? How do you prepare for a stretch of nights? How do you "recover" from nights for your days off?

Thanks!

hbgwan

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

6,255 Posts; 40,292 Profile Views

Everyone in my department is required to work some nights - how many per schedule is determined by seniority. I schedule what fits best with my outside-of-work life - usually popping in a 7p-7a here and there, never more than 2 in a row. I've tried scheduling a week of strictly nights, but it doesn't work for me because the rest of my life, and particularly my teenager's life, does not adapt with me ... So I guess you could say I maintain a day schedule with occasional "all-nighters."

It works for me because 1) I don't have a problem sleeping during the day and 2) naps do wonders for me - even 45 min. can really refresh me.

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All_Smiles_RN specializes in Cardiology.

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I work every fri sat and sun. thursday night i go to bed around 1am. Sleep until 9am. Get up for a little bit and nap from noon to 4pm. i work 7p-7a. go to bed around 9am. up at 4pm. same on sunday. i come home from work monday morning and go to bed at 9am and sleep until 2pm. then that night, i go to bed at 11pm or so and switch back to days starting tuesday. works for me, hope you find something that suits you too.

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kmarie724 has 5 years experience and specializes in LTC.

279 Posts; 7,573 Profile Views

Usually I still stay up all night when I'm off, but I usually will go to bed around 5 or 6 am rather than 8am. Especially if I only have one day off so I stay on the same schedule. But I work nights by choice because I've always been a night owl.

Sometime I switch my sleep schedule around on my weekend off. I work PM shift the Friday before, so if I have stuff going on over the weekend and need to be up during the daytime on Sat./Sun., I'll go to bed around 2 am and then get up at 9 or 10 Sat. morning and do the same thing Sun. if necessary.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

2 Followers; 19,552 Posts; 65,005 Profile Views

When I worked fulltime Nights, I did not change my sleep schedule much, for survival purposes, mostly.

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Spatialized has 5+ years experience and specializes in Cardiac Telemetry/PCU, SNF.

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It kind of depends on how the schedule is. If I am on the rotation many of us have on my floor, it is a 3 on, 2 off, repeat 2 more times, then have 7-8 off in a row. If I am on that run, I rarely flip into a day schedule, I stay a night owl, usually up until 4 or 5 in the AM to keep my body slightly in the 7p-7a mind frame. For the 7 in a row, I make the transition by sleeping from when I get home until 2 in the afternoon.

If I am on a weird schedule, working around classes or family engagements, I sleep when I can and hope for the best. You have to make sleep a priority...which is hard with a family, but hopefully they can respect your needs.

There is no easy answer, many times you have to figure out what works for you.

Good Luck!

Tom

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PickyRN has 4 years experience and specializes in LTC, Med/Surg.

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I have worked nights for two years now (straight out of RN school). One thing that I have found to be helpful is lumping shifts together. By this I mean that it is not good (for me) to work one night, then have a night off, then work two, etc. The only way you can do that is if you STAY on the night schedule.

So (until recently) I worked every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. I went to church straight from work on Sunday AM, then went home and took a 4hour nap. Then I would get up, and I would be up until bedtime Sunday, when I would be tired again. That is how I convert to a "day" schedule.

To switch to the night schedule, I stay up late the night before my first shift. I go to bed around 3AM, and sleep in until noon. That way, I have enough sleep, and I am halfway to the "night" schedule. It's definitely easier to do in steps this way.

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mom2michael is a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Rural Health.

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When I worked nights I usually worked my 3 in a row so I could be off 4 days. I stayed up as late as I could the night before which was usually around 1 or 2 a.m. - the day I started back I napped at least 2-3 hours and I was good to go.

My last night - I would come home and lay down. I got up no later than noon. After I got up I was usually pretty tired, grouchy and plain down right mean, so I cleaned house and did laundry that has piled up for 3 days. I did not operate a vehicle unless it's life or death nor did I attempt to do anything like mowing or other tasks involving moving parts. I also did not do anything that requires thinking. By 10p.m. I'm was freaking tired and mean.....my family would beg me to go to bed....but then I was back on my schedule of "day time" for the next 3 full days.....so all was good.

I don't work too many nights anymore unless it's OT so now it's just 1 or 2 shifts a pay period and I usually just go sleep deprived during that time frame.......

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vamedic4 has 23 years experience as a EMT-P and specializes in Peds Cardiology, Peds Neuro, PICU, IV Jedi.

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Hi hbgwan....

I started out working days, then went to 2 12 hr days/2 8 hour nights (never again) and now just work straight nights...(3 12 hour shifts). I don't work back to back shifts...I have a set schedule...Sunday, Tuesday Friday from 7p to 7a...sounds hard but when you have a family of school kids who have to be taken places, you don't want to be sleeping all day...I don't, anyway.

I get home, take the kids to elem school/preschool and then get about a 3 hour nap...pick the little one up from preschool and give him lunch. The 3 hour nap allows me to be fine until I can go to bed at a normal time. I also nap on days when I work (like today). I get a good 2+ hour nap on days I have to work.

You just have to find what works best for you. Good luck!!

vamedic4;)

Hi everybody. I have been reading about nights vs. days. In college I worked nights at a fiberglass factory (6p - 6a) and it took three weeks to get my sleep schedule worked back around to sleeping at nights.

For those who work at nights, my question is this: how do you toggle between sleeping at night and sleeping during the day? My guess is that on your days off you don't "keep" your regular hours (up all night, sleep all day). Maybe some of you do, but for those who don't, what are your sleep patterns like? How do you prepare for a stretch of nights? How do you "recover" from nights for your days off?

Thanks!

hbgwan

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1,343 Posts; 5,653 Profile Views

Surprisingly, it is not so hard going from nights to days but the reverse is pretty hard.

You just have to nap when you can. Make up for lost sleep when you can. Dream of winning the lottery. Good luck.

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