Work Stress & Unstable Sleep Schedules Are Energizing


Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 42 years experience.

I worked MNs for the last 17 years of my nursing career. I went from working a combination or 8 & 12's, to working straight 8s, to working the last few years straight 12's.

The combination of 8 & 12's were the most difficult, as I had difficulty having a set sleep routine. Straight 8's were great, as I stayed on a MN schedule, sleeping basically from noon to 8pm. Straight 12's weren't bad, as I eventually, again, stayed on a MN schedule.

When I first began working straight 12's, I thought, "Gee! Four days in a row off, I can transition back & forth from a MN to a day schedule!".

I had worked 12 hour shifts back when I was in my 30's and that's what I did, without any problem. However, in my late 50's and early 60's, I did not transition well.  I was regularly irritable and dealt with my irritability, as I did in stressful periods of my life, through exercise.

Case in point: Once, a few years ago, I got so ticked off at my medical nurse wife Belinda, I bicycled to St. Charles Mo and spent the night at a B&B. I bicycled back home the next day, a round trip of  nearly 100 miles, on a loaded down mountain bike!

What an adventure! For example, while bicycling back home through the rural floodplain cornfields of eastern Mo, on Rt. 94, I was caught in a massive thunderstorm.  

That trip took all the p**** and vinegar out of me, Belinda & I made up, and the world moved in greased grooves. Belinda did nothing for me to get so upset, it's just that the unstable sleep schedule and stress at work got to me. I often deal with stress by putting my body through difficult physical tasks like cutting and splitting wood.

Since I've retired, am on a day schedule, and no longer have the stress of working as nurse, the longest bicycle trip I've taken is only about 15 miles and I've barely enough wood to get us through the Winter.

Stress and unstable sleep schedules can make us more productive. Can you relate?



Specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg. Has 20 years experience.

I have never worked graveyard or mixed schedules. I have worked evening or day shift. When I worked evening/nights I would get home between 1130pm and 1am. I was younger then and not sure I could do that now. When I feel/felt overly stressed I would go for a walk, it always helped. 
Your story reminds me of something my hubby did once. We were arguing about something while driving home. He got mad and told me to pull over so he could get out. He thought he would ‘show me’. Yep, him walking home about 7 miles really showed me LOL. By the time he got home the p*** and vinegar was out of him too.