It is very hard on me too. I have worked nights for 20 years now. I hate it, but its worth it to me, I love my job with all my heart. But it is taking a toll on me, the older I get the more side effects I have for the lack of sleep. But at this point I think my sleep is so messed up there is no way to get out of it ever. I do have an appointment in Feb with my doctor to see if there's any reason I can't sleep. I've never been able to sleep but I've always been able to cope and carry on. Now I'm having jaw pain (had this for 7 years, the less sleep I have the worse and more intense my jaw pain is).
Because of the seratonin/melatonin shift in our brains, us night shift workers are at more risk for anxiety and stress and depression. The older I get the more I see the effects of this. I've never taken prescriptions for anxiety or depression or insomnia. In the past I took benedryl, but it causes my blood pressure to elevate and makes me a nervous wreck. I'm a nervous nelly anyway! Melatonin is uselesss, may as well be drinking water, it would be better anyway!
Night shift has its pros, and this is why I continue to work on nights. To me its worth it to be available to my kids and my grandma if they need me for appts., activities, etc. I may die young because of it but that's A-OK with me. Its worth it to be available for my family, and I like the atmosphere at night, and I LOVE the idea that I'm getting to go to bed when the rest of the world is just going to work.
When my grandma broke her hip on 2007, I quit work for 2 years to care for her. During this time I didn't sleep really all that great anyway. It was tons better but still not able to sleep very much. So I figure, I can't sleep I may as well be working,right? THis is a question I want to address with my doctor and see what he thinks. I would love to talk to a sleep specialist and see what they say too. I feel like I've tried everything under the sun and I just cannot sleep ever. Sometimes metabolic disorders can be the cause like thyroid etc.
You are not alone, I hate nights too. WHY oh WHY didn't I become a teacher or lawyer or something where I could rest my head and snooze on a soft pillow every night?