Jump to content

I have been on night shift for 30 years and...

Nurses   (1,160 Views 13 Comments)
by tavalon1 tavalon1 (New Member) New Member

541 Visitors; 13 Posts

advertisement

Now, I need to go to day shift. It is clear that I am one of those rare humans with an inverted circadian clock. So, I am expecting this to be like when a new nurse starts on night shift with all the physical struggles.

Just as I did for night shift, I will not change my schedule on my off days. I've had 3 days now of misery and am asking for tricks of the trade for being on a schedule that is bad for your circadian rhythm. 

What I don't need is affirmations that I will feel so much better! Maybe I will and maybe I won't. Helping me would be giving me tips and tricks for the first three months. If it isn't better by then, I woll go to another hospital and find a safe night shift to work. But I want this to succeed.

My fellow nurses?

Terri

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CharleeFoxtrot has 7 years experience as a ADN, RN.

6,145 Visitors; 433 Posts

Wow, kudos for making it 30 years on nights! I've done lots of shift work over the years. Best way I found to "reset" my clock was to set a firm schedule for going to bed, lots of tiring exercise before bed time and (if okay with your PCP 😉 ) 10mg melatonin 45 minutes before my expected "asleep" time. No screen time of any type one hour before bedtime.

Hardest part for me wasn't resetting my clock, it was resetting my stomach! It still wanted that 0230AM snack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

541 Visitors; 13 Posts

I loved nights. I would have retired on nights. And that's all I will say about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 Followers; 96,591 Visitors; 36,686 Posts

My dad did about 20 years or more on nights.  Unfortunately when he retired he was never able to adjust and suffered immensely.  If you find you can't do it, I hope you can find another consistent night position.  If you can't find a hospital job, look for night shift in extended care home health, especially on the weekends, to tide you over.  Best of luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kitiger has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in Pediatrics.

1 Follower; 18,535 Visitors; 904 Posts

When a day person switches to nights, her coworkers "get" it. They understand how difficult it is to stay wide awake while the body screams for sleep. They'll hand you a cup of coffee, or walk you up and down the hall. When a night person switches to days, her coworkers usually don't "get" it. I was walking into walls and tripping on shadows at 1 or 2 PM! My coworkers told me to go to bed on time. I was!  😟 I was! 😠

Don't expect them to understand.

I found that if I stayed up until 9pm, my body would go into awake-mode. I did much better - especially at first - if I got to bed before that, even if I didn't sleep right away.

A glass of milk before bedtime helped me.

Some people can read for a while (real books, not a Kindle), and they will get sleepy. Not me. Reading wakes me up all the way.

If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, I would have one or two cups of coffee in the morning, but no more after morning break (if you get morning break).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Follower; 44,656 Visitors; 3,075 Posts

4 hours ago, tavalon1 said:

I loved nights. I would have retired on nights. And that's all I will say about that.

????? Who, what, or why made you go to day shift? This will stay between you and me only,  I promise 😄. It seems awful if you were content with nights. I loved nights, did it  17 years.

I was more tired of every other weekend than I was of working night shift. Got a Monday to Friday job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 Followers; 96,591 Visitors; 36,686 Posts

I can think of employers that would move the employee to the opposite shift just to mess with them to the extent that the employee gets fed up and takes off.  They love to push you in order to get rid of you.  I'll bet something along those lines happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

1 Follower; 7,122 Visitors; 671 Posts

I did nights for 12ish years before switching to days last October, and it is still an adjustment. The worst part for me is actually waking up at 0500 and not feeling like I'm physically dying.

Some of the posts had some great suggestions. I agree that, much like night shift, it is about getting onto a schedule. Try to have a good after work/evening routine - workout, eat dinner, watch a show, and then mentally wind down before bed. I also second taking something to help sleep during the transition since your body is so used to being awake in the middle of the night.

In terms of staying awake at work - caffeine if you are allowed to do so. On "slower" days at work, I also found myself taking walks around the unit to keep going. Overall it took about 4 months before I felt pretty good on days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

3,632 Visitors; 504 Posts

My  personal sleep combo is: 1. White noise machine set to rain plus thunderstorm. 2.  Temp set extra low like 68 degrees or less (we live in Florida). Melatonin, plus magnesium, plus 5HTP (must be cautious if you are on SSRI medications since it could provoke serotonin syndrome).  3.  A walk for 30min to an hour at least two hours before bed. 4.  I figure an extra two hours of sleep time whenever I'm shifting from days to nights or nights to days. Thus I aim for at least 9 to 10 hours sleep for the first month.  5. Extra caffeine . 6. If all else fails see a mental health provider about something like Modafinil/Provigil  7.  Limit simple carbs during the day to minimize massive insulin release and rebound hypoglycemia/sleepiness.  

Edited by myoglobin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2,253 Visitors; 437 Posts

I am one of the unfortunate people who need 9 hours of sleep to be at my best.  It bothers me that so many people can get by on much less and I can't.  While trying to acclimate you may need more sleep than you did before, at least for awhile.  Did you have black out over your windows while you slept when working nights?  or Did you sleep in the daylight?  If you slept with light coming in then why not leave the lights on in your bedroom while you sleep at night.  Just an idea, it may help, not sure.  

I would think that the same tricks day people find useful to work nights would work for you, but in reverse order of course.  Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2,253 Visitors; 437 Posts

1 hour ago, myoglobin said:

My  personal sleep combo is: 1. White noise machine set to rain plus thunderstorm. 2.  Temp set extra low like 68 degrees or less (we live in Florida). Melatonin, plus magnesium, plus 5HTP (must be cautious if you are on SSRI medications since it could provoke serotonin syndrome).  3.  A walk for 30min to an hour at least two hours before bed. 4.  I figure an extra two hours of sleep time whenever I'm shifting from days to nights or nights to days. Thus I aim for at least 9 to 10 hours sleep for the first month.  5. Extra caffeine . 6. If all else fails see a mental health provider about something like Modafinil/Provigil  7.  Limit simple carbs during the day to minimize massive insulin release and rebound hypoglycemia/sleepiness.  

These are great ideas.  When I worked nights I used ear plugs and a sleep mask.  She might try that too to help her sleep at night. I usually needed more sleep as well till my body adjusted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

28,878 Visitors; 2,885 Posts

I went from straight nights for 15+ years to days a few years ago and boy was it an adjustment!  To be totally honest it took a few months of not getting anywhere near enough sleep at night before I managed to start falling asleep at a reasonable time.  Even now I still tend to stay awake too late for my own good on work nights, getting to bed around 11 pm and waking up at 5 am. Even worse when I have a stretch of days off I am up until anywhere from 2 to 5 am so my last day off I make myself get up after no more than 4 hours sleep so I can sleep that night before going back to work in the morning. It works for me, but that's not something I would necessarily suggest is a good idea. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing 0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×