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Vtachy1 Vtachy1 (Member)

Night shift for 20 years

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I've had 2 doctors tell me I need to get off of night shift. But really has it helped you that much with your sleep or anxiety? I have done a day shift here and there but my main shift has always been eves or nights.

The problem is with days I worry all night about having to get up early and I sleep horribly then too. I'm not so sure I'm going to like this. Today is my second day of doing day shift. I HATE not being available to my family too. I take care of my grandma and i also have 2 kids and a father in law that is dying. I just don't know if this is gonna be good or not.

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Seems like you know the answer as to what is best for you.

What I can gather from your post, days aren't any better.

I work nights almost all my adult life (different types of jobs besides nursing). Days just did not fit me. If I had any anxiety I would look at different causes besides working nights.

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If working days causes you more anxiety and sleep problems, I'd say logic demands you go back to nights. Or evenings might be a nice compromise, since you can sleep at night and have a "normal" lifestyle. Up to you. :)

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I've had 2 doctors tell me I need to get off of night shift. But really has it helped you that much with your sleep or anxiety? I have done a day shift here and there but my main shift has always been eves or nights.

The problem is with days I worry all night about having to get up early and I sleep horribly then too. I'm not so sure I'm going to like this. Today is my second day of doing day shift. I HATE not being available to my family too. I take care of my grandma and i also have 2 kids and a father in law that is dying. I just don't know if this is gonna be good or not.

You need to give your body at least six months to adjust to the day shift. You also must do days alone. No picking up other shifts, as this will bring you back as if you never changed shifts. Second, you MUST! Have a routine. Get up sthe same time, eat at the same time and most important, go to bed the same time every night. Even on your days off. This is crucial, ESP. During the first three months. You will find yourself craving naps during late afternoon-early evenings. Do not give in to this, it will defeat you. During your first six months of days, keep your routine at all cost. Third, exercise daily, if only vor thirty minutes, you will find your stamina improving and ability for quality "night sleep" refreshing. I realize you have other obligations with family and all, but you must stick to this routine until your body adjust. Don't feel guilty taking care of yourself, you not only deserve it, but NEED it. I bet your family wants you healthy and alive, rather than sickly and gone. Eventually, you will be able to do more for them and actually, feel good about it.

You are going to start feeling, more alert, less cranky, find pleasure in ADL. Your body will start to heal after all the abuse it took for 20 years. Yes, the night shift, being unnatural has hurt your body. You will add five, some studies say nine years to your life. Your family will find you a pleasure to be around once you adjust. Not saying they don't now, but now is all they know. Refreshed, you will handle stress and pressure, so much different. Again, this takes time to get there. It may take longer than a year, but it gets easier every month. You will find yourself enjoying life more and wondering how in the heck, you ever worked nights for 20 years!

Finally, be kind to yourself, this is a major change for you. It is actually a stressor, when you first start, but please continue for your health sake. It is worth it!

After saying all that, I am in my second year of working days, I am still screwed up at times. My body still likes to be up at night and sometimes I give into it and stay up, sometimes I make myself go to bed. But I wiill never work an off shift again. My quality of life has increased dramatically. I loved working nights, or so I thought. My mind, heart and body tells me daily I am a night person. But now I don't listen to that tape anymore, instead I love feeling refreshed and that sense of well being, I find every day. Peace!

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So 2 doctors have told you to get off of night shift, but you are still debating it? Hhhmmmm? Do these doctors know your medical history and current medical situation well? If so, maybe there is a reason they are saying "get off of night shift". What do you think of patients that ignore medical advice and do their own thing? Thats right, "frequent fliers" because they never get better. How can you take care of your family if you don't first take care of yourself?

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I can see the previous post regarding giving 6 months to adjust and to try and listen to the md's. But as nurses, we all know md's are not always correct and no one knows you better than yourself. Do what you feel is best for you (first) and your family. It is hard for anyone to tell you what you should do. There is no straight answer. I hope you get through this happy and healthy.

(I am naturally a night person, been that way since birth per my mother, tried days and hated it, then ran back in the shadows like a vampire. I appreciate nights even more. But that is me)

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The OP has only done 2 days of day shift. If she were here commenting that she "can't do nights" after 2 shifts, we'd all be telling her that's not enough time to make a judgment.

The OP needs to give this time-her body must adjust to such a huge change. I don't know if she needs 6 months, but she sure needs more than 2 days to decide that her MD's are wrong.

A couple months for sure, OP.

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I am not a day person by any means. Therefore, I'll continue to work the night shift even if it means that I might die sooner.

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I've had 2 doctors tell me I need to get off of night shift. But really has it helped you that much with your sleep or anxiety? I have done a day shift here and there but my main shift has always been eves or nights.

The problem is with days I worry all night about having to get up early and I sleep horribly then too. I'm not so sure I'm going to like this. Today is my second day of doing day shift. I HATE not being available to my family too. I take care of my grandma and i also have 2 kids and a father in law that is dying. I just don't know if this is gonna be good or not.

Working days for the majority of the population is better for their physical and mental well being. There are people out there who are night owls whose circadian rhythms say sleep in the day and be up at night but most people's bodies don't work that way.

Sleep Anxiety is pretty common. You start getting freaked out that you won't get enough sleep or maybe your alarm clock won't go off. You tell yourself working after not having a goodnight sleep isn't the end of the world or whatever but it doesn't make you feel any better. There are several things you can do to help overcome that.

First ask yourself if you practice good sleep hygiene? Do you have a bed time and nightly routine that you follow? Do you use your bed only for sleep and sex? If you have difficulty sleeping do you get out of bed or do you lie awake staring at the ceiling? Do you avoid daytime napping? Do you avoid exercising within several hours of going to bed? Do you avoid caffeine or other stimulants in the late afternoon/evening? Addressing these issues is the first step.

Have you tried any medications or supplements to help you fall asleep? There are plenty of choices and if you take them on nights before you work that may help you towards being able to fall asleep on your own.

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I worked straight nights for 12 years. I loved night shift, but over time, the stress of my job got to me where I couldn't sleep enough and my health went down the drain fast. I think if you can get a solid 6 hours of sleep straight through, then you'll survive. It's just like living in a different time zone (like Paris!). Otherwise, if you're on 3 hours of sleep at a crack, it will slowly kill 'ya.

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I work nights and I have stress, but its not the nights that is causing the stress. My son has been ill and of course that is stressful by itself. On top of that I have to take him to all sorts of specialists. At my hospital we choose between week shift or weekend and I do week shift. This means I am off every sat/Sun, but I work 3 our of the 5 weeknights (usually M/T/R). The only time I have to take him to the Dr is late Wed afternoons, and late Friday afternoons, but those times are not always available. This means I often go without sleep for two days at a time. I have to work tonight, will get home at about 9am in the morning, and have to leave to take him to the Dr at 11:30. This is an every week thing until we find out whats going on. And I am stressed.

That being said I would be even more stressed if I did days. I am going without sleep, but at least I am available to take him to the Dr. If I did days I would be working (and we know Dr's aren't going to see him after my 12 hour day shift).

You just have to look at your life and see what works best for you. They may both be bad depending on your life situation, but one will be less bad. Then try to look at the +'s. You might also look at changing what you do in nursing all together. Maybe check Dr's offices for a night 9-5 day shift etc. I would do that, but I don't have a enough hospital experience (only a year, and most want two). Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your family.

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I cannot comment on working days/nights as I'm still in nursing school (although I AM a night owl and hope to work nights). I"d just like to point out that maybe it's not the nights that are getting to you. It sounds like you have stressors other than your sleep schedule that could cause a lot of anxiety. Being responsible for children, your household, an elderly relative and another that is declining could cause A LOT OF STRESS.

Please take care of YOU so that you can continue being that amazing person you seem to be. :)

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