Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

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Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Nuke is Good on Fri 3 Jun 2011 - 23:53

I got my nursing job finally at the LTC facility and they put me on the 11p-7a shift, but it was weird on Wednesday my orientation was on 7a-3p then they had me work my permanent shift starting Thursday 11p-7a. I also have a second job tutoring math and a few other subject's at my friend's school thats 5p-8p on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That job I really like since I can unwind and my manager and coworkers are a blast to be with.

It was pretty bad that Wednesday night I was fighting to stay awake and I lost the fight and slept at 2am woke up at 12pm and couldn't go back to sleep. Went to work didn't have fatigue issues since the floor I was working on was close to a hospital setting with only 10 patients for the most part still were with it. After my shift ended and gave report to the next it was like 7:40, my dad took me home and I was just DEAD in the car.

So what are the tips to survive night shift and balance the second job? I've heard conflicting things. The people that work nights seem to enjoy it, I didn't have a choice in the matter.

1. "As soon as you get home try to go back to sleep." vs "Stay awake till like 1PM then go to sleep"
2. I'm not gonna have a social life vs It's still manageable.

Also how the hell do you manage to get the room dark? Sleeping with a bright room is difficult unless I'm really dead tired or I happened to take benadryl before because of allergies.
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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Nachtsider on Fri 3 Jun 2011 - 23:58

Most people who work the graveyard shift have the advantage of not having a second job to contend with. As much as you like that tutoring gig, I feel you should shelf it for the span of your night rotation. I'm sure the manager and your buddies will understand.

As for how to get the room dark, my usual solution is to draw all the curtains and apply a blindfold. Relegate the social life to weekends and/or whatever days you aren't on the job - again, I'm sure those you keep company with will understand.

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by rusty-spring on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 0:05

@Nuke is Good wrote:Also how the hell do you manage to get the room dark? Sleeping with a bright room is difficult unless I'm really dead tired or I happened to take benadryl before because of allergies.
When I use to have a 10PM - 6AM job, to get the room dark enough to sleep I would use a dark blanket over the window. I'd be ghetto and use packaging tape (cause the stuff is damn sticky) and simply stick it to the wall. I'm sure there was a neater way of doing it, but that's what I did.

And I agree with Nacht; it's really hard to have a second job with a 3rd shift gig. With all the other factors in having to try to sleep during the day, sometimes you just need to become a hermit. Razz

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Entropy on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 0:16

I have to work the occasional night shift and it can be murder if you're internal clock isn't used to it. It's probably not too bad once you get used to it, but unless you're doing it consistently you'll frequently have problems. Luckily someone like me can go 12 hours on 4 hours of sleep, but not everyone has my youthful stamina. As for balancing the other job, it's not really possible unless you put a lot of thought into planning your sleep and go with relatively little sleep.

As for sleeping itself blindfolds work of course, but if worse comes to worse, just go ahead and sleep in your bathroom or closet, I've done it a few times myself and it's not so bad.

The important thing here though is to try your best to get natural sleep, don't tweek out on caffeine or something because you will start seeing stuff after a while and it's not as fun as it sounds.

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Nuke is Good on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 0:23

Yeah, I'm going to talk to my manager about taking a leave of absence. My mom said the same thing I have to probably sacrifice the second job. The lack of a night shift differential did annoy me but do other places actually offer that? My mom's hospital does pay the night staff more.
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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 0:53

I've worked my way onto the graveyard shift at most every job I've ever had...it's my preferred shift. Even now when I'm the only Surveyor or Navigator aboard a boat I tend to stay awake night-time hours and sleep during the day.

As for keeping the room dark I use aluminum foil in the windows.

Your body does get accustomed to working those hours over time but some adapt to it better than others. I firmly believe that some people are "morning people" and some are "night-owls."

The second job is a tough question. When I was going to Dive School I worked full time overnight and attended classes (often diving under pretty cold water) all day. For seven months I got only four hours of sleep a day and that wasn't healthy. All I can recommend is to set one or two days aside as your days off and stick to it...stand firm even if someone wants you to work an extra shift that day. You'll need that time off to catch up with sleep and a dozen other concerns.

Good luck!

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Nuke is Good on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 1:15

Thanks for the recommendations so far guys.

@Professor Voodoo wrote: All I can recommend is to set one or two days aside as your days off and stick to it...stand firm even if someone wants you to work an extra shift that day. You'll need that time off to catch up with sleep and a dozen other concerns.

This is something I hear people make a big mistake about how to handle scheduling. New hires after their orientation period but still not used to the workplace take on overtime/double shifts then messing up resulting in termination. "Employment at will" scary stuff.
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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 5:06

I'm a security guard and have been working the graveyard shift the entire 4 years I've had this job. Personally, I love it. Just as Voodoo mentioned above, some people are just night owls. Everyone else have all mentioned good points as far as advice goes but to throw in my two cents, you might want to invest in a good set of black-out curtains to hang in your bedroom window. They're just normal curtains, but made of a thicker, opaque fabric that doesn't let any light through. I've got a set and they work great.

Looking at your hours, I'm a little hesitant to jump on the bandwagon in recommending you ditch the 2nd job though. Theoretically (and I'll say again, theoretically), if you can succeed in shifting your schedule around, you do have enough time for everything, depending on how long your travel times are. If you can be home and in bed by 8am, then you can get a full 8hrs of sleep, to be up at 4pm and at school for 5. Again, this is assuming it doesn't take you too long to travel and don't expect to be able to do much of anything at home between those times. I also wholeheartedly agree with Entropy as far as the caffeine thing goes. Stay the Hell away from it. Maybe a cup at the start and another halfway through your shift, but definitely do not rely upon upon it because eventually you'll end up needing it to get through your shifts. Remember, caffeine is a narcotic and like any other narcotic, its addictive and your body eventually builds up a tolerance to it so that you need more and more to get that buzz. I did 10-12hr shifts for 2yrs without ever taking so much as a single drop of coffee. Sure, you're tired as Hell afterwards, but it's vastly healthier for you in the long run. Plus, you get the bragging rights to show of to your friends about not needing coffee while they're all stumbling around like zombies. Razz

Another option you might try (if it's possible, I don't know about hospital scheduling), is see if you can't work out fewer, longer shifts. The way it worked for me, when I was doing 12hr shifts, was I worked 4 on, 4 off. That is, I worked for 4 days, and then I was off for 4 days, with the option of picking up an extra shift to make it on for 4 days, off for 3. That extra day or two to catch up on your sleep, and more importantly to catch up on both household chores and socializing, is a Godsend, trust me.

If all else fails and you're still reluctant to give up the 2nd job, then you might want to think about mastering the art of the cat-nap. I don't know how busy you are while working, but if you can get away with finding the time to grab even just a 10min nap, it could help out a lot. Try to avoid going longer than 20-30min though, as you'll start to fall into a deeper sleep then and waking up at that point will just make you groggy and even more tired. And that just sucks, believe me.

Oh yes, one last thing: use the stairs. Not only does it get you some free exercise, but elevating your heart-rate will help wake you up and keep you awake. Just don't overdo it and tire yourself out even more.
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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by boomer_gonz on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 5:51

WOO-HOO!! Finally a chance to share my experience. Razz

For me, starting the shift was no problem, sleeping during the day with the light piercing it's way into the solace of your domicile however is the problem. As mentioned above, a set of solar(aka blackout) curtains work wonders.

Also as mentioned above, it's simply all about setting your internal clock to what you need it to be. Meletonin supplements help in getting you just sleepy enough to where it'll help you, but do try and avoid using OTC's containing one hitter quitters like diphenhydramine and doxylamine. Those can and will do more harm then good, just like having a dependence on caffeine as mentioned above. Just keep at it and eventually you'll be able to train your sleep patterns to however you like. Another fringe benefit of working in the nursing field.

Personally, I've trained myself to run for close to 48 hours on only 3 hours of sleep. Not healthy, I know, but still useful when the time calls for it. Personally though I'd like to develop on Ubermann pattern. ...BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME!

Also to resist the bright sunlight that will wake you the hell up without you wanting it too, I devised a trick to this. Invest in a cheap pair of welder's goggles and be sure to wear them before exiting your facility. I weld with my Dad on the side so I have a fairly dark pair, but a cheap set from Orchard Supply/Home Depot should be just dark enough. Remember, I said "goggles" NOT "mask".

Now you said you work in an LTC specialized facility; so I'ma guesstimatin' most likely it's a hospice, rehabilitation center, assisted living center, or nursing home. From experience, I know LTC at night is boring as all holy shit and drags worse than John Goodman's gut when he picks his drunk ass up from the floor. Well...at least for me it was. sweat

Anyway, be sure to bring something to do between your rounds so that the time doesn't drag on as much or at least until you get used to the time or train your sleep habits. During the day it isn't so bad because there's simply more to do and listening to old people is freaking fun. A book, PSP, DS, old brick Gameboy with Tetris, fully charged phone loaded with Angry Birds, Texting of the Bread, and/or Bejeweled, something.

Also, I agree with Prof. Voodoo's point wholeheartedly. Stick to your schedule until you know your facility better than you know your fridge. After that, covering shifts is easy money...and we both know days off are always more fun with more money. Evil

Well, that's all I have for now. Any other questions you have, please don't be shy about shooting them away.

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Alfisti on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 7:12

@Professor Voodoo wrote:As for keeping the room dark I use aluminum foil in the windows.
Out of curiosity: how many times did the police visit you to try and seize your crop of hydro?

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 8:01

@Alfisti wrote:
@Professor Voodoo wrote:As for keeping the room dark I use aluminum foil in the windows.
Out of curiosity: how many times did the police visit you to try and seize your crop of hydro?
I wish.

With my job I'm away from home for weeks or even months at a time. I can't even have house plants, much less greenery that requires daily attention.



One of my nocturnal jobs was running (legal) drugs to nursing homes late at night. When you drive through the tiny towns of the Catskill Mountains & Hudson Valley in upstate New York at that hour it's inevitable...you're going to get pulled over now and then by police wondering what you're up to.

What's the first question they always asked?

Officer: Do you have any drugs in the car?

Voodoo: Why yes, Officer. Bags and bags of drugs.

Officer: Let me re-phrase that. Do you have any narcotics in the car?

Voodoo: Yes; those three bags right over there are all narcotics.

At which point I would have to show him my badge (made using a Polaroid camera and a laminating machine) identifying me as a professional pharmaceutical courier.

See, working the graveyard shift can be fun.

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Nuke is Good on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 12:39

This forum is a lot friendlier when asking questions. I was told in another one I chose the wrong profession for a social life haha. But yeah the facility I work in has both the long term/rehab floor and a subacute floor which is like a hospital floor where the patients are post surgical patients are not sick enough for the hospital.

The administration in this place is not exactly friendly to the RN's, no pay raises in 4 years, refusal to have the 12 hour shift, RN's aren't protected by a union, and a three week orientation period.

All I gotta do is somehow survive this place then I can do anything.

And Boomer, the long term floor in this place is horrifying to work in since NJ law you can't throw patients on to the streets if they can't pay. So we do have indigent patients with very poor regard to their own health and a few patients with rather unsavory behaviors. 40 patients to one nurse is just scary, all those meds, and all that documentation. I swear nursing could do without a lot of the redundant paperwork and a little more adequate staffing.
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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Awinnell on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 14:54

as the others have said,blackout curtains,and you may want to get some earplugs as well,i found that you often got to sleep easily at first, but would get woken up by the daily noises in my neighbourhood

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Officer_Charon on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 15:23

When I was a security officer, I worked the night shift, which didn't bother me at all, because I tend to prefer nights anyway.

For sleeping, as previously stated, invest in some curtains. I did with a set of bamboo rolling blinds, which still let in light, but wouldn't overwhelm the house (my window at the time faced the east, which is not pleasant when you're trying to sleep).

Honestly, once your body gets used to it, it won't matter about the sun waking you up. Your body will just know that it's time to sleep, and adjust accordingly. At least, mine did. I had a 20 minute walk to get back home, and usually it would be a case of me getting to my room, grounding my gear, and flopping into bed. No worries! *chuckles*

As far as your social life is concerned... it's tricky... I was never much for socializing anyway, but I would still manage to get the occasional day to hang out with friends... it's actually not too hard, if you consider that their afternoon/evening is going to become your morning. You can get in some quality hangouts doing it that way... just be prepared to have to remain sober, if you enjoy a brew or two with friends.

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Re: Anyone ever work the midnight shift?

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 15:25

I'm okay with a shift that ends at midnight. I am way too old to start at that hour.

When I did work overnights, I used blackout curtains and earplugs.

I now work Asia hours (supporting Japan, Korea, Singapore, China and Australia), which is cool (love chatting with the Aussies). I still use the curtains and earplugs , however, because the sun comes up about 0430 here in Seattle in late Spring and Summer (and it does not get dark until after 2200).

I only have an online social life, so having Sunday and Monday off (now) doesn't matter. Smile I mostly spend it chatting with friends who live in Asia and Oceania or Americans who are Night Owls and Europeans who get up before dawn. Razz


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