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tuxuday's avatar

How to adjust to night shifts?

Asked by tuxuday (296points) December 2nd, 2009

Hi all,
I will be working in night shifts or early morning shifts to be exact. What all things i should do to adjust to this?

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13 Answers

faye's avatar

Very dark bedroom, move around at work, warn everyone that to phone you brings threats of death. Diphenhydramine is a light sedative. Some nurse friends found eating before sleeping worked for them.

juwhite1's avatar

Gradually move your sleep pattern to getting up an hour or two before the start of your shift, then do your running around other activities after the end of your work shift. This helps a lot of the people I know who work nights. Apparently, when they try to get up several hours before their shift, then go to bed shortly after work, they have a much harder time getting restful sleep.

faye's avatar

I wouldn’t have made it doing it that way @juwhite1. I think there probably is no right way.

juwhite1's avatar

I’d agree. I’m sure the best solution is different for everyone. One other idea… maybe while trying to adjust to the new sleep cycle, some chamomile tea before bed would help… or even some Benadryl.

faye's avatar

But don’t pay for Benadryl. It’s real name is dyphenhydramine and you can buy that at half the price.

Phobia's avatar

I work nights and had to switch back and forth from nights to days for a few years.

Cover all your windows so that it’s nice and dark in your room. Wake up early one morning and stay up all day and night. If you aren’t used to staying up for more than 24 hours, after being awake this long your body will be ready for sleep.

I still work nights and still have trouble sleeping some days. It never really gets easy for me.

tuxuday's avatar

dyphenhdramine? any side effects that might cause worry?

avvooooooo's avatar

On your day off, stay up through the time when you’re usually sleeping. Go to sleep when you were planning to if you were working nights and get up like you’re planning to. After a little while, your nights and days will get switched and you’ll be fine. I used to pull all nighters… With the way my classes were (mostly online and late afternoons) I had my nights and days mixed up for most of a month. I found that ti was easier to be more productive at night because there was less going on (no one awake to talk to, no good TV on) and I could get more schoolwork done. I had to pretty much stay up for an entire day and then allow myself to sleep when I needed to be going to sleep for the next several days in order to get readjusted.

faye's avatar

It is an antihistamine whose side effect is drowsiness. My doctor told me to try it when I was working nights. We could probably have gotten a grant to study longterm effects of an occassional antihistamine in the old days and there would be no night shift. I found some shifts were more stressful than others and I wouldn’t be able to calm down so I took it then.

proXXi's avatar

Listen to R.E.M.‘s “Day Sleeper” every day before bed.

ccrow's avatar

I read somewhere that it is more successful to try changing your sleep/wake cycle by staying up& getting up progressively later each day, till you get where you need to be. (This is as opposed to trying to go to bed earlier, which generally just doesn’t work.) Sounds like you will be working midnight shift? Turn off your phone when you go to bed, & put a sign on your door that says “Wake me & DIE!!!” :-p

truetamara's avatar

It sounds like you’ve gotten some good advice. If you want to use some natural sleep aids you can try melatonin (which is the chemical that our bodies make to help us to fall asleep and stay asleep) or 5-htp, which is similar.
Also, you may choose to give your diet some extra attention and eat fairly well. Your nutritional needs are higher when going through any kind of stress.

tuxuday's avatar

Thx guys for all the advice.

@faye: lemme try dyphenhdramine and post the results.
@proXXi : good advice. I always believe calming your mind/body before going to bed helps.
@truetamara : thx mate.

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