Published Jul 31, 2005
Just wondering how many of you have difficulty sleeping during the day when you are working nights? I have just started a new job and have been scheduled to work nights only (in violation of my union contract) since May. The schedule isn't expected to change until some time after the middle of Sept. I have always had great difficulty sleeping during the day, but lately things are worse then ever. I have tried everything except Rx meds. I am running on 3-4 hours sleep a night for months now. Any suggestions? I block out the light, have used ear plugs, tried relaxation tapes, taken melatonin, dimenhydrinate etc.Help...............I don't want to develop an addiction to hs sedatives.
from the med point of view, ask your doc about the new sleep med lunesta. also, when you get out of work, avoid any prolonged exposure to sunlight before you go to bed; and wear sunglasses; just the exposure to light can screw up your body's clock. I'd also recommend that you stick on the same schedule whether you are working or not. and then there is the possibility that you are one of those people who just can't hack nights
Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN
I tried nights when I had my baby 4 years ago - came back part time. We work 3 - 3 shifts here so my shift was 3 p.m to 3 a.m. It didn't work for me at all. Changed back to day shift 3 a.m. to 3 p.m., also part-time. btw - I'm never working full-time again.
It is funny because I'm not a morning person and love to stay up late but at work I would be soooo sleepy by about 11 p.m. Weird. Plus, it is boring usually on p.m.'s and there is alot of food around - not good.
I don't have much advice except I know that one of the night shift RN's kept the same schedule all the time . . .she stayed up until 3 a.m. and slept during the day on her days off. Blackout curtains. Fan in the room for white noise. Consistency was the key for her - but then she wasn't married and didn't have kids.
UM Review RN, ASN, RN
After having a few pretty intense convos with coworkers, I was astounded (appalled?) to find out how many rely on sleep aids, antidepressants, and pain meds to get them through.
My theory is, if I sleep, it's because my body needs it. If I don't sleep, my body doesn't need to sleep. I also figure I'd have just as much insomnia if I worked days, except if I worked days, I wouldn't be allowed to gripe about it.
This is why the night shift diff is higher. Consolation for all those sleepless nights.
For many many many people I think it is just a point of whether or not they can do nights - some people just can't. Myself, I would never work any other shift. I keep on the same schedule sleeping during the day and up all night when I'm off to keep consistency, though I've found I'm pretty flexible and have no trouble getting back into it after switching back to being up during the day (for example, my beach vacation - not much to do and not much tanning opportunity in the middle of the night!). The other thing to consider is if you have family (hubby/significant other/children) who are on the opposite schedule, you may be subconsciously longing to be up with them, even if they're not making any noise or anywhere at home. My body has been trained so well to be up all night that sunlight makes me sleepy most of the time. To be successful at night shift, you really have to be of the mentality that you eat dinner when you get off work, lunch at work, and breakfast in the evening when you wake up, you sleep during daylight hours, and no matter what else is going on during the day, it's not part of your life. I know that's hard, but if you can get into that mentality, it will help tremendously. Good luck, I hope everything works out for you.
i've been on night shift for 2 weeks, switching from afternoons to be home after school for the kids. i guess i'm lucky, i can sleep anytime, i just slept from 7am to 2 pm and i can hear the kids downstairs romping around. I use a fan to drown out any excess noise too.
Fan's work and cover up your windows.. But i am like........ NCKDL..........I can sleep anytime...
To be successful at night shift, you really have to be of the mentality that you eat dinner when you get off work, lunch at work, and breakfast in the evening when you wake up, you sleep during daylight hours, and no matter what else is going on during the day, it's not part of your life. I know that's hard, but if you can get into that mentality, it will help tremendously. Good luck, I hope everything works out for you.
I used to have no trouble sleeping at all, but the last few months... one thing that helps is having bedtime routine, just like a kid! And I always go to bed having eaten, and voided, so I don't wake up starving or bursting :chuckle When i'm having rel problems I have a calcium supplement. my mother - a naturopath - says it helps to reset seritonin levels. I don't know if it actually works, or it's just the placebo effect, but I do sleep better when I remember to take it. And I figure the extra Ca++ can't hurt.
You are just now into the window of getting used to your backwards clock in you were able to adjust. It takes at least 3 months to adapt (and that's just an average I read somewhere).
I have the opposite problem. I've worked nights for 10 years. Struggled through day shift school, then worked nights for 7 months before starting Orientation in July (on days).
It's killing me, as when the sun goes down and I am awake and when it comes up, I go to sleep.
It really just takes time to adjust to nights. Even when not working, since you are not adjusted to the swap, you should stay up late (til 3 or 4 at least).
Also, the white noise fan is a good idea. Turn the ringers to the phone off and explain to your friends and family to not call until after 4 pm. You may have to explain that their 11 am call is similar to you calling them at 3 am. If you have to be available by phone in case the kids get sick at school or something, then find a friend or family member to be the contact. I am very protective of my cell phone number. Urgent calls (ie the school's contact list) does not include that number as they are told to call my sister who will then call my cell phone number to wake me if deemed necessary. All other calls get answered by the answering machine at home.
I agree with Student 4ever, whatever is going on during the day is not part of your life (at least for awhile). Learn to do your banking on the way home from work or right before closing, find an all night grocery store to use on your nights off, schedule any appointments for the first or last one of the day, etc etc.
After so many years on nights, the people around me are trained (even the mailman who knows to leave packages but not ring the bell when he does so). I can pretty much get up during the day and do whatever I have to do and go right back to sleep. But it took time, lots of time. And now once adjusted, I can't switch back.
I have tried a combination of everything mentioned here over the years. I find turning the day around works well. I have cereal and milk when I get up, and a cooked evening meal in the morning before I go to bed. I empty my bladder when I am going to bed, put dustbin liners over the windows to block out the light as well as shutting the drapes. I take the phone off the hook, put a notice on my door so that postman does not disturb me, and most of all, I have a bath before I go to bed to relax me.
The most simple thing I have found though, is changing my outlook - if I start getting stressed about not sleeping, then I won't sleep. I told myself it didn't matter if I got no sleep, and now I sleep 8 hours a day.
When I am coming off nights, I take a few days to turn my body clock around, so Night duty is 9pm till 7am. The next day I work a 6pm till 2 am shift (yes, only 11 hours between shifts) and the next a 4pm till midnight. Then I get days off and my body clock is back to normal :zzzzz :zzzzz :zzzzz
i'm narcoleptic so when the sun goes down, so do I. One of the docs that works nights does the ear plugs and sleep mask also heavy curtains and a fan that hums and she doesn't have trouble sleeping during the day...
Thankyou for your advice. I'm starting to think I'm just one of those prople who just can't hack nights (i'm no spring chicken) It doesn't help that I live in the "great north" in cottage country-the beach is out my back door. I've tried most of the aforementioned suggestions with little success. My usual routine is to wear sunglasses for the drive home-in bed by 0800-up @ 1100-take dimenhydrinate out of desperation-go back to bed @ 1145 and sleep until 1400 @ which time I totally give up. Everyone else I work with works 4 weeks days-2 weeks nights except me (straight nights from May to Sept) I just got hired fulltime (was part time) and I guess I have the least senority. My union wants me to file a grievance. They say I will follow the regular master schedule starting sometime in Sept-but geeze-this is killing me!!!!
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