Adjusting to Night Shifts

This is a discussion on Adjusting to Night Shifts within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I recently started a job at one of Amazon.com's warehouses during the 7pm to 3:30am (sometimes 5:30) shift, and I am having a little bit ...

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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    Adjusting to Night Shifts

    I recently started a job at one of Amazon.com's warehouses during the 7pm to 3:30am (sometimes 5:30) shift, and I am having a little bit of trouble adjusting my sleep schedule. Changing shifts is out of the question because I teach in the afternoon. Any tips from people that have done schedules like this before?

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    Best way I have found is just to suck it up for a few days, and avoid taking naps or anything, but stay awake until the time you want to go to sleep for your new shift. Only let yourself sleep 6-7 hours a night, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Once your body adjusts to the schedule after a week or so, it will get easier. Use bright lights at night while you work, and black out the room you are sleeping in. Don't try to keep one schedule during the week, and another during the weekend.
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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    Been down this road before.

    Foam ear plugs. Yeah, they compromise your situational awareness but so does not sleeping well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    Best way I have found is just to suck it up for a few days, and avoid taking naps or anything, but stay awake until the time you want to go to sleep for your new shift. Only let yourself sleep 6-7 hours a night, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Once your body adjusts to the schedule after a week or so, it will get easier. Use bright lights at night while you work, and black out the room you are sleeping in. Don't try to keep one schedule during the week, and another during the weekend.
    Great advice....Been there, done that.. And if you don't keep the same schedule on weekends also, just think Fail....
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    Buckeye.45 gives excellent advice. I could never really get use to "mids" and never got more than 5-6 hours of sleep when on them.
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    Hookers and whiskey, they will change yur' schedule for ya'...

    When I did work night schedules...years ago...it was pretty much a 'suck it up' and Get-R-Done. Keeping the weekend schedule the same is also good advice.
    Good luck with the new shift.
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    I was an LEO for 21 years and night shift was the worst aspect of the job. I tried every trick there is but could never adjust to sleeping days. If you only work til 3:00 AM, that's not too bad, sort of like a late night out. The advise given is good, sleep the same hours on your days off, darken your room, expose yourself to light as much as possible while working. You will find that the rest of the world is following a different schedule and it will be noisy when your trying to sleep. Keep earplugs and even a OTC sleep aid handy.
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    I worked 7pm-7:30am for many years. Making your room as dark as possible or wearing an eyemask will help a lot. Also, if you have kids, foam earplugs are critical. I have always been a night owl, so it wasn't that difficult for me. At least after that first night it wasn't.

    While on shift if you find your self nodding off, get up and take a little walk and interact with some people. DO NOT sit down and read rule books or technical manuals. Learn from me, that is a mistake. Your co-workers will understand if during that first week you need to walk around and chat a little more than usual. They've all been through the same thing.

    For some people keeping the same schedule during the weekends was very helpful. But I had young kids and wasn't going to lose that time with them so I was a day person on weekends. I have tried many different ways of switching between shifts, and this is what worked best for me. The night before your first shift of the week, stay up as late as possible. Watch TV, play video games, surf the web, etc. Go to bed around 4am or so. By this time you'll have been up for 20+ hours or so, so you should be able to sleep. Then do your normal work week. After your work week is complete and you're ready to go back to a daytime schedule for the weekend, you should go home and sleep about 4 hours and then get up and spend the day with your family. You'll probably need to go to bed by 8pm, but you'll be decently alert all day and be able to enjoy time with your family. I've tried staying up all day after a work week, but found myself falling asleep sitting down while visiting friends and family around 6pm.

    There were hundreds of people working night shift where I worked, so I spent a lot of time asking as many of them as possible what they did to adjust. I found that everybody has a different way of dealing with it. What works for me, might not work for you. You should try different ways of dealing with it and then keep the method (or multiple methods) that work best for you.
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    All good advice. I would add that if daytime noise is an issue, a "white noise generator" may be a help. I could never sleep with ear plugs in but the sound generator was the ticket. For me the actual white noise(static) was the best. My wife prefers the natural ocean surf sounds.
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    I do the swap shifts, I work three 14 hour nights and I basically dont exist outside of work for three days. thursday morning i go out to breakfast with a few other officers and we eat and wind down for an hour or so, then home and to bed, i get up three hours later, do the day thing, go have a cigar, hang with friends, do housework etc. Then I work saturday during the day and go to bed late sunday night or monday morning for work on monday night
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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the tips!

    I installed some curtains that do a great job of darkening the room. I got through the work week just fine, but for some reason, I couldn't stay awake past 10:00pm on Friday, then I stuck to my schedule on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be adjusted to the whole night thing in a week or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by INccwchris View Post
    I do the swap shifts, I work three 14 hour nights and I basically dont exist outside of work for three days. thursday morning i go out to breakfast with a few other officers and we eat and wind down for an hour or so, then home and to bed, i get up three hours later, do the day thing, go have a cigar, hang with friends, do housework etc. Then I work saturday during the day and go to bed late sunday night or monday morning for work on monday night
    Is that as brutal as it sounds?

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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    When my wife had to switch shifts, she would use melatonin to help her get to sleep to adjust her shcedule.
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    I have worked night my entire life. With the exception of training for new jobs are overtime. On the rare occasion my employer has asked me to work days I used melatonin to help me quickly adjust my sleep schedule. Melatonin is naturally produced by your body and is not habit forming unless of course you abuse it. A word of caution though: I am well well over six foot tall and 300 pounds, 3 mcg knocks me out in about twenty minutes.

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    I've worked rotating 12's for years. When going on nights, I stay up late the night before and try to sleep in as late as I can. I use a radio to block out some noise, black out the room best I can, and train the family to KEEP IT DOWN because Dad is sleeping.

    It takes 2 weeks for the body to adjust to a sleep pattern. The second midnight is the worst. I've tried melatonin with mixed results. You tough it out the first couple nights and then settle into the routine.
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