Shift Work

revo333

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Did you work around the clock? I've read that some people really utilise 'short sleeps' when coming off night shifts - basically only sleeping for a few hours, powering through the rest of the day and then sleep at night to reset the body clock (as much as possible).
I only did night shifts but I always tried to keep the body in sync with my working hours, trying to adjust the body clock back to normal hours was very hard for me so i usually stayed in tune with the hours i work. It's hard for the body to settle down and sleep straight away after a shift, especially when you are driving home as the sun comes up!

Try and make your bedroom as dark as possible during the day when sleeping and some 'white noise' can be good so you don't get woken up by outside noise like doors shutting and cars driving past.

At the start sleep will feel like a must but once i had done a few years i got use to working shifts on minimal sleep, it's all about getting past that wall you will hit at work, once the body learns to get past it then you won't be as anxious about working if you didn't get as much sleep as you wanted.

I think every new person I worked with hit that flat spot 2 or 3 weeks in where they really hated it but stay positive as the longer you do it the easier it will become.
 

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edgie

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In my experience you need to find a rather flexible sleeping time that can work for most shifts, give or take a few hours here and there depending on what you're doing. Some days you'll be up 5 hours before work, other days 1 hour. Some days going to bed an hour after work, other days 5.

If you can find a few hours of sweet spot in the middle of all that, that's your anchor to work with.
 
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Ed_Gein

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I think you'll find early on whether or not it's something you want to persist with in my opinion. I'm very much a night owl, but doing night shift absolutely no thanks. It's not so bad on the social life if weekends matter, I think. If you're going to be doing it Monday to Friday at least you'll be alright for a Saturday night out with mates, but the sleeping through-out the day is something I couldn't get used to no matter what I tried. Getting to bed not long after you get home from work, then you're awake for quite a while before a shift starts and you can get really tired towards the end of it. Or the going to bed early afternoon to get up in time for work starting wasn't much better either.

Afternoon shift wasn't so bad, although my time at home was split 3-4 hours either side of sleep so mentally it didn't feel as though I was getting a proper break if that makes sense. But on the other hand, you could wake up at 10-11am guilt free, that felt like a decent sleep-in. lol.

It's more of a mental thing though, I guess you gotta try and distance yourself a bit from the concept of night and day and what's considered normal working hours. Otherwise you'll find it tough to adapt and you'll get fed up pretty quick. You can probably tell from my situation above that I didn't really adapt mentally and was fed up with shift work overall, I personally couldn't recommend it, but that's based on my experience.
 

PoppedCorn

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Did 4 years nights 11.30pm to 7.30am
12 years arvos 4pm to midnight
Now on days with a flexible start time
fu** the money ill stay on days and do the shifts, if im asked, for a few weeks a year

Tips:
Ear plugs
Meal prep on the weekends and do not eat crap
Try and stay in dayshift routine but work the shift
Eg. Finish at midnight but go to bed at 5 or 6am. Then get up for work pretending its day shift.
If u exercise do it straight after work no matter the time.
Blockout curtains

If youre doing it for the money then get in save the coin for whatever youre saving for and get out
If you're not doing it for money...dont do it.
 

MWPP

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I’ve done shift work jobs for 2 of the last 2.5 years and these are my thoughts, though everyone handles shiftwork differently:
-Day shifts are busy at this time of year but they provide a great work -life balance
-Evening shifts are so busy and antisocial. It’s tough to switch off but not having to set an alarm the next day is liberating . I’m a naturally early riser so I find that I naturally wake up by early/mid morning and can get errands, appointments , exercise , cooking etc in but at the expense of my social life.
-Night shifts are two paced in terms of busy-ness but are the biggest struggle for me. It’s far easier in winter since the cooler /gloomier /wetter weather (yes even in a perth) is more conducive to daytime sleeping /sleeping in but I often still only end up with 4-6 hours of sleep in 2-3 hour blocks between night shifts. This means that my motivation and mood and diet /sleep go downhill on night shifts. It’s far easier to come off than start nights too because when I finish them I’ve accumulated such a sleep debt that I sleep for 16 hours out of 24 in 2 blocks without the pressure of knowing that I’m back that night
-Evening and night penalties are much lower than weekend ones so there’s little financial incentive for others to pick them up (unlike weekends /public holidays which are more lucrative and therefore easier to give away in a way)
-Back-to-Back long shifts (13-16 hour ones) are the worst of all because they leave no time for anything besides eating and sleeping after commuting and getting ready for work is taken into account , so it’s easy to slip into poor habits like eating out and not exercising. I’m fine with a one off long night and 4 long days but beyond that I struggle . An occasional long day is fine.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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I'm only doing day shifts these days on a 2 / 1 roster, 12 hour days. I have done both afternoon and night shifts at various times over my working life. If I didn't have a wife and children, I could easily do afternoon shift for the rest of my working life. I live on 5 to 6 hours of sleep per day, on afternoon shift I would start at 2:30pm and finish at 11:30pm, get home, watch a bit of tv to chill and have a shower, in bed by 1am and then up at around 7am, see wife off to work and kids off to school then I'd have 6 hours to do as I please.

The first time I did night shift, it was more a hybrid afternoon / night. The latest I would finish is 5am. Get home, sleep until around noon then get up and go swimming, train, whatever, I'd get the afternoon. If I could, I'd try have a nap for an hour or 2 after dinner. If I couldn't then it still really didn't affect me.

When I eventually did proper night shift, 12hours, 6am to 6pm on an 8 / 6 roster I used to work those 8 nights on an average of 3 hours sleep per day, I just couldn't sleep from 8am to 4pm. If I was in bed and asleep by 8am, I would be up between 11am and midday. I would get through the 8 nights ok but then on my 6 days off, I'd be a zombie for the first 3 days, constantly falling asleep. I hated it.

I did a fair bit of night shift working in a prison doing 9 hour shifts, that was a lot more manageable than the 12hrs plus the longest stretch would be 7 days but usually only 2 to 5.

I did have a brief period, about 2 months of when I was doing the 12 hour night shifts, where I thought I'd finally cracked the code. I would have my usual 3 or 4 hour sleep in the morning, get up have some lunch, potter around for a couple of hours then I was able to get 2 more hours in right before heading off to work. I was doing the swing a lot easier, then something happened, I don't know what but I could no longer get to sleep for the 2 hours immediately prior to my shift, so it was back to 3 to 4 hours of sleep per day for 8 days.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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Sorry Scotland, I probably should've responded to your earlier post. It's not FIFO work.

4 days on, 3 days off for me. Work patterns will be alternating (not sure of specifics yet).

I actually quite like the idea of shift work and believe there are definitely some benefits, as stated in your post above.


Have you done shift work and can shed some light on your experiences rather than just blanket statements? I'd be curious to understand your stance.
What days are you working and what ones are you off?

Mon - Thurs or Tue - Fri or will it vary and what hours?

That's a pretty nice roster either way, a long weekend off every week. The first night will always be the hardest but after that it's only 2 more sleeps. Don't stress about it, just break it down in easier to think of portions.
 

Cadaver

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I just came off 8 months of working 80 hours in one week (7pm to 6am for 7 days) and then 0 hours the next, I just couldn't keep it up. Had no time to do anything during my working week and no motivation during my off week.
 

Knighta21

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Have a rotating roster that could see me having a week of night shift (8 hours 5 nights) and there is also day shifts (830 - 5) earlier and later shifts too.
Just came off 2 and half weeks of nights and it really throws me out a bit getting back onto day shift. Didn't help I worked a day then got called in to work a night off 2 hours sleep.
I find after work I'll sleep 6 hours and then I'll get up and have 3-4 hours in the afternoon to do things and then I go back to sleep for 2-3 hours before getting up to get to work.
You will find a routine that works for you and I guess everyone is different.
 

Barry_Badrinath

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It wasn't just social stuff that got torpedoed. Mundane stuff like seeing a dentist or going to a shop would have to be planned depending on the shift. Dentists are done by 6pm (or thereabouts) and most shops are shut by 10pm etc.
This is probably the biggest (only) advantage IMO. You can organize all your appointments etc to when you're on night or afternoon shift. Plenty of time to get s**t done during the day.
 

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JG22

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Forget about exercise. Even if you have a home gym or membership to a 24/7 one, you won't feel motivated and it's hard to manage the physical side with the changing shifts and sleep. Not saying you'll pack it on and get unhealthy, but if you have high standards it will be hard.

Try to stay active at work instead.




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Not necessarily, if you change your sleeping patterns to be in line with your work and have access to 24/7 resources there is no reason you can’t make it work. It may be a sacrifice though.
 

stmookeyj

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The only issue for me during footy season is finishing work at 10PM on a Friday Night, then having to get enough sleep to be up by 6:30AM on the Saturday for home games, then getting enough sleep again to be ready to work 6AM on Sunday morning (which I'm doing for the 4th time in 5 weeks this Sunday, with the off week needing an early wake up to run the Gold Coast Half Marathon). They've just changed shifts again where I work, meaning that in 2 weeks time I start at 11AM on the Monday, but start at 6:25AM Tuesday to Friday (having done a week starting at 4AM the week before). A lot can depend on the people on the shift alongside you, for some don't have the same work ethic and others just go into panic mode when it isn't necessary.
 

craigos

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It depends what your "normal" life is like. Do you play a sport? Because you'll probably have to give that up. Are you in a relationship? Because that will be strained (especially if you have kids).

Otherwise, it's for some people and not for others. Give it at least 3 months, the first few weeks will really suck. As others have said, try and find a routine that works. Wake up and go to work, don't wake up and wait hours until you have to start, it will kill you.

You love exercise so use that as much as you can to regulate your sleeping. Consult your GP and ask if melatonin for sleep is something that may initially help.

You're 29 so whilst your social life will take a hit it's not like you're 18 out until 5am every Saturday/Sunday morning.

The positives are it's a hell of a lot easier to go to the shops, banks, doctors and all other services as you'll have the hours most people work to do that.
 

the_interloper

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I used to do shift work occasionally, was only usually a night at a time (engineer where work had to be done at down times). I found it hard to have a nap during the day beforehand so I'd usually just miss my night of sleep, stock up on caffeine and get through, not all that safe really. Got into sales to get away from it, didn't enjoy it at all.
 

Shupe

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Thanks for all the responses everyone, very much appreciated.

I should point out that this is a career change for me - not a case of 'giving it a try for a few months'. Think emergency/crisis services - it's part of the job and there's no way around it.

You love exercise so use that as much as you can to regulate your sleeping. Consult your GP and ask if melatonin for sleep is something that may initially help.
Is it worth speaking to a GP do you think? Are there any supplements that may assist in sleep that you know of? I currently take magnesium which helps rest/recovery.
 

craigos

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Is it worth speaking to a GP do you think? Are there any supplements that may assist in sleep that you know of? I currently take magnesium which helps rest/recovery.
Just wait and see how you go. If you think you'll need something to help sleep don't be afraid to ask. Speaking from personal experience I'd steer clear of most, if not all, sleeping tablets but Melatonin.

A popular sleep aid, melatonin helps reset circadian rhythms and more. ... Melatonin is frequently taken to alleviate difficulty falling or staying asleep, characteristic symptoms of insomnia, and there is a strong body of evidence support its use as a sleep aid in several populations including children and the elderly.
 

Macpotata

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What hours will you be working?


You sound like my ex ( not having a go:tearsofjoy: ) re the ''selfish '' exercise thing. Could be a problem seeing as though you sound driven, very fit. Would take up a lot of time/energy.

edited - change in work hours/potential sleep loss - decrease in serotonin, increase in cortisol then + exercise could raise cortisol even further.


Balance - Find that. Fast.



The 3 days off works in your favour.
 

gimp!

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See, I've heard this before and really struggle with this concept. Which is why it intrigues me. Exercise is almost at the top of my priority list each day, to the point it's bordering on selfish. I struggle to see a day in which I wouldn't be able to motivate myself. That said, I haven't done shift work before, so I don't know what it's like. Is there anything that has helped you maintain a decent balance in terms of exercise/work/rest?
Just sent you a PM with some tips, didn't see this post. It's because you'll be absolutely rooted, trust me. I used to put my gym clothes in my car and promise myself that when I finished at 3am I would go straight to the gym. I'd put the gym clothes on and then proceed to drive right by the gym and straight to my house to get in my bed and pass out. Having 3 days off should help though, I would maybe think about starting a routine that's based around 2 of those days of the week.
 

Macpotata

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yeah could train every second day when you work ( or on days 1 and 3 etc ) Balance and not too much. Just do it when finish no matter what ( or before )
 

Macpotata

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ear plugs
Have a home gym set up,or whatever you can afford/fit, even if it's just an exercise bike, some dumb bells. You can save time, and it's easy access to get a workout, fitness and endorphin boost. Shower then leave for work. or go to bed after it etc.
 

Hamingja

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I've done 5am to 1pm in a warehouse and 2pm to 10pm in a professional job dealing with WA clients from the east coast.

Early start and early finish was good. Evenings I didn't like as much. Because I had to think in the job you basically had to sleep in to 11am or you'd be completely wrecked by 10pm if you got up at 7am. Fridays really really sucked too.
 
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