Author Topic: Night shift  (Read 6019 times)

Mustcho

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Night shift
« on: January 04, 2017, 05:46:23 PM »
So...  I have a career that I've only been in for a short time and it requires me to do night shifts. I can barely sleep on days and just get through.  Its breaking me down slowly but there's no option for straight dayshifts.  The flip side is I'm paid about 65 am hour and all my overtime is double time.  My networth is about 150k and I save 75 percent of my earning.  Do I quit and start from the bottom somewhere making 15 an hour or suck it up and risk the health consequences...  What's the mustachian way!? 

human

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 06:09:52 PM »
How many night shifts a month do you have to do?

I worked night shifts cleaning toilets and restaurants at 6 bucks an hour, I really didn't think it was a problem but normally I woke up at a regular hour during the day (if I hadn't worked overnight the night before) or worked an evening shift making burgers right before, that let me fall asleep at 9 a.m. after the overnight shift no problem. Then I would wake up at around 5 or 6 in the evening.

By night shift do you mean midnight to 8 a.m. or 4 pm to midnight (big difference in my book)?

What's stopping you from sleeping after the shift? Have you tried sleeping before the shift then staying awake after the shift?

If all you do is night shifts that's a different story but 65 bucks an hour is a big chunk of change. I figure at one point there were people in your company that switched from nights to days, you may want to ask them how they were able to do it.

JAYSLOL

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 06:27:16 PM »
Man, for 65 an hour I'd be looking into some kind of solution to your sleep problem first.  Therapy?  Changing diet?  I don't know much about that kind of thing, but I would see a specialist and try a few things to help you keep the job and keep your body and mind healthy.  If nothing works, then I would give up the work, your health is your biggest asset, so take care of yourself over your net worth.

Mustcho

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2017, 06:36:32 PM »
It's a rotating schedule so we work 7 to 7.  I fall asleep. No problem but then I'm wide awake 3 or 4 hours later.  I've tried everything short of getting on prescription sleeping pills... That's what in trying to avoid.

Seems like I'm hooked on the paycheck...  Golden handcuffs

I could eventually get on days but it's unlikely and if it does happen it'll be like 10 or more years down the road if I get into management or something

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2017, 06:45:55 PM »
My suggestion is to keep milking the big paycheck it as long as you can!

My son was working in a factory (Industrial Engineer) and he had to work nights. These are some of our suggestions
  • Install blackout curtains in his bedroom. If installed correctly, it is pitch dark when they are closed,
  • Put together a white noise generator. The sound levels increased as the night ended, the white noise generator helps mask the noise.
  • Eliminate screen time(TV, computer, laptop, tablet) for a couple of hours before sleeping (blue light impacts sleep). You can use orange glasses to reduce blue light if you have to browse (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/07/can-orange-glasses-help-you-sleep-better/)
  • Go to sleep at the same time each day. You have sleep problems if you mess up the schedule for weekends etc.
  • Try using melatonin to help get you into the rhythm. This should not be a permanent solution

Best of luck with your sleep problems.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 06:48:19 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

human

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2017, 07:00:20 PM »
It's a rotating schedule so we work 7 to 7.  I fall asleep. No problem but then I'm wide awake 3 or 4 hours later.  I've tried everything short of getting on prescription sleeping pills... That's what in trying to avoid.

Seems like I'm hooked on the paycheck...  Golden handcuffs

I could eventually get on days but it's unlikely and if it does happen it'll be like 10 or more years down the road if I get into management or something

Were you able to sleep 8 hours straight on a normal schedule? Have you tried 4 hours of sleep after and 2 or 3 before the shift? Do you catch up on the sleep when the shift rotates?

At this point if it were me I'd need to know just how much longer I need to work over all to FIRE. You are saving 75% on 150k a year (gross I guess?). That's what 8 years to FIRE?

Cut expenses if you can to FIRE even earlier, or get a big stash and do something normal before FIRE/.

How old are you?
How much do you weigh (or bmi)?
Diet?
Single? if so want to stay single or get hitched? have kids? If not do you want them and when?

These questions are pretty intrusive but they would all matter if I was the one making the decision on whether or not I would quit.

Still not sure what a rotating schedule means, 10 shifts a month? 7 a month? 14 a month? How many in a row on the rotating schedule. How many days on then off, way to little info here.

If it's less than 10 and you do something like 5 days on 4 days off. I would definitely suck it up and figure out wants wrong with your sleep.

I think diet and exercise are key but you do actually try to sleep and then do sleep, waking up is the problem. That's never been a problem for me, any issues I've had have been falling asleep.

I have read that any change in sleep routine has to be tried for a while, not switched up every day until you find the magic bullet.

TL-DR: If less than 10 shifts a month overnight, go find a sleep forum to figure out how you can sleep better. If your diet and exercise are crap address this.

JLee

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2017, 08:37:48 PM »
Do you have blackout curtains?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 07:39:11 AM »
Do you have blackout curtains?

And earplugs. When I need to sleep, blackout curtains and earplugs do the trick.

Also, 12 hour shifts are a whole'nother animal from eight-hour shifts. I think people who don't work them don't realize the difference 4 additional hours at work every day can make on one's life.

katscratch

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 08:57:32 AM »
I did this type of shift (rotating, 10-12 hours) in my 20's.  It took me a few months to lock down a consistent sleeping schedule that worked for me. 

Blackout curtains (I moved my bedroom to the basement, actually) and noise of some sort (radio worked for me), and on the other end, a sunlamp or really bright light to help wake me up. 

From everything I've read since then, consistency in sleep is more important than anything else.  Getting your body onto a rhythm, even if that rhythm is different than 9-5ers, is crucial to maintaining good hormone/chemical balance and not putting chronic stress hormones in the mix. 

You haven't said how your shifts rotate - if they're all over the place, stick with the timeframe for sleeping that is the most likely to be consistent and treat the offshifts as outliers (like staying up late on a normal schedule).  If they're one week on, one week off with days off in between I know a few people who've had success transitioning their entire schedule by 12 hours, similar to how you would for jet lag. 

I also agree that once you do lock in a sleeping schedule that works, you'll still have to evaluate regularly whether this is working for you on the whole.  In my 20s it worked because some of my friends were bartenders etc and I could still have a solid social community on both ends of my shifts-- in the winter I wouldn't have thought twice about just working 24/7 but in the summer it would've gotten old very fast if I never got out in the sunshine.


Myself personally, no way in hell would I be willing to do this now even if my salary doubled.  It's hard!  Massive credit to you for being in a position to bang out your goals faster!

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 11:01:42 AM »
Jesus christ. Wanting to go from $65/hr to $15/hr just to not work night shift? If I had a son who said that, I'd slap him upside the head!

Work the night shift, get on a consistent sleeping schedule. If you only sleep 3-4 hours after your shifts, start taking intermittent naps in between.

Your circadian rhythm will eventually adjust.

highflyingstache

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2017, 11:15:37 AM »
A couple thoughts from someone with a random schedule:
-As mentioned blackout curtains,
-Lower the blue screen time f.lux on your phone or similar on your computer can make that red coloring as well.
-Don't drink any water or anything really about 2-3 hours before sleep. Waking up in the middle of your sleep cycle sucks.
-As for weight gain/fluctuation, eating when you awaken and not close to whenever you're planning to sleep helps too
-I bought a Phillips wake up light/alarm clock. I Have the HF3520. Expensive but I can't swear by it enough, when you have to wake up at 1:30 am or similar.
-Melatonin for those nights you can't get tired enough.

It's certainly manageable. If you can find the right funk to get in, it works great.
Also, have you considered sweet talking your coworkers to switch so you have longer duration times at one wake up or another? I.e. if you do 7 days 7 off 7 nights 7 off 7 days, repeat, ask the opposing coworker to go a month days/month nights, for example. You'll find it a lot easier.  Also to note, every 1 hour you wake up different from your regular waking time should take 1 day of adjustment. 12 hour swaps, 12 days.
Hope that helps.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2017, 11:22:22 AM »
I'll be a dissenting voice here. Nurse. Graduated into a very competitive market- pretty much everyone HAS to start on nights. Very common. But I *cannot* do nights. Last time I had a job on nights, I lost 15lbs (down from 130, and I'm 5'9"- NOT GOOD). I also developed IBS, got an eye twitch, and developed a respiratory infection that didn't go away until I quite many months later. I made it 5 months in the job before my (then BF, now husband) and parents staged an intervention. That's when I went back to school, BTW.

Anyway, be sure you're not making this a false dichotomy- I was able to go into home health nursing on days. Yes, I make a bit less. But now that I've done it more than a year, I would be much more able to go in on days somewhere. I also moved which helps on that front.

Anyway, don't destroy your health just for a paycheck. Some people circadian rhythms DO NOT WORK with nights. I tried everything- blackout curtains, noise machines, yellow tinted glasses, mood light, sleeping pills, melatonin, benedryl, changing diet and exercise patterns... you name it.

You cannot buy back your youth and your health.

Risks of night shift:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/shift-work
Cancer risk increase, fertility decrease, increase risk of depression and cardiovascular disease and diabetes... it's nothing to take for granted.

KelStache

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2017, 11:23:47 AM »
The advice above is really good and important, especially blackout curtains (or eye mask), earplugs, and reducing screen time.  Getting in a 10-12 hour fast per day is important for your hormones too, I would just pick whatever time you seem less hungry (normal schedules would do this during their nightly sleep, but something else might work better for you - eg. 9 am to 7pm).

Depending on your schedule I'd like to add that sometimes my partner will sleep 3 hours before the shift, then 4 hours after.  You still get 7 hours, but if you know you can't sleep more than 4 hours this might help.

Good luck!

katscratch

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 11:56:58 AM »

Anyway, don't destroy your health just for a paycheck. Some people circadian rhythms DO NOT WORK with nights. I tried everything- blackout curtains, noise machines, yellow tinted glasses, mood light, sleeping pills, melatonin, benedryl, changing diet and exercise patterns... you name it.

You cannot buy back your youth and your health.

Risks of night shift:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/shift-work
Cancer risk increase, fertility decrease, increase risk of depression and cardiovascular disease and diabetes... it's nothing to take for granted.

This is where I'm at now too.  My rotating shift job when I was 20-21 was food service and mindless and it was temporary until we had more people trained for overnights.  Not only am I totally unwilling to put my body through that now, I really am not willing to risk patient care for a few extra bucks.  I work in surgery (not an RN but CST) and on the rare occasion we have to work overnight or get called in overnight, we are offered our regular shift the following day off.  Even though this means I lose out on overtime, I usually take it.

LifeHappens

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2017, 12:04:24 PM »
Switching from days to night every other week is brutal. My dad worked a swing shift for years - and 7 days a week to boot. He has the amazing skill of being able to fall and stay asleep pretty much whenever he needs to, but he learned that skill by being a combat soldier. I would not say that rewards=risk there!

You could give it a couple more months, but if you can't train yourself to sleep when you need to, know this is not going to work. And like Bracken Joy said, the long term consequences to your health are no joke. No matter what, in the long term you're going to need to think about a different job.

Just Joe

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2017, 12:22:58 PM »
Add a floor fan to the mix.

When I was young and single I used to work a month of nights, month of days and then a month of nights. Then I'd volunteer for nights on the month when I was supposed to work days. After a while I could make it work but I slept alot less overall.

Working nights presented advantages and disadvantages. Not alot of attention from supervisors - good or bad. Better when they were away (easier) but I seldom was recognized for working hard either.

House was quiet but the neighborhood was not. Cue the fan.

Slept five hours in the morn and then maybe one more before my shift began. Not enough but coffee and youth made it work.

Careful with eating. I gained weight during that period. I lost weight in a previous period where I was working huge hours day and night.

When they put us on swing shifts everyone was having problems. Week of days, couple days off, week of nights, couple days off.

I'd make it work for $65 an hour - for a while. Watch your health. Save your money. Watch for opportunities to switch to days or another company.

JLee

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2017, 12:45:58 PM »
Has the OP explained how exactly this rotation works?  I can't find anything elaborating on the schedule.

Dave1442397

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2017, 12:53:03 PM »
Try this - https://www.amazon.com/Privacy-Pop-PP-BLACK-TWIN-Bed-Tent/dp/B006XBJ3UI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483645896&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=privacy+pop+bed+tent+full&psc=1

Personally, I use a white noise machine and blackout curtains. I could never sleep with intermittent noise or any kind of light. When I travel, I use earplugs.

NV Teacher

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2017, 01:26:43 PM »
Is there anyway you can go straight nights?  One of my brothers worked rotating shifts in a mine and it about did him in.  He volunteered to go straight nights and was much happier.  He adjusted to working nights and once he was on that schedule it was fine. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2017, 01:28:21 PM »
It was a rotating shift that got me so sick BTW. 4 days nights, 3 days off (really 2.5), then 4 days swing, 3 days off, then 4 days days, 3 days off, back to nights, etc.

Awful.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2017, 06:10:53 AM »
I been doing a 2nd/3rd shift for 6 years now for only 10% extra. I would LOVE to making your type of money.
I would keep it up, doing 2nd shift isn't too hard....
You just have to have a schedule. Get home at 2am, eat dinner, shower at 4am, get to bed by 5am. And wake up at 3pm the next day.


Jaguar Paw

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2017, 07:23:34 AM »
blackout curtains for the win... I worked 2000-0600 for 4 years. It was awful. Just like you, I couldn't sleep more than 4 hours or so but the blackout curtains at least helped on weekends. . It was a necessary phase of my career and now I'm permanently on days and will not go back.

Smaug-stache

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2017, 08:46:50 AM »
I am in a similar situation as the OP. I recently started working a rotating schedule on a 6 week cycle. Nights during two weeks and days during three weeks with the sixth week off.

I agree with the previous posters: black out curtains, sleep mask, and white noise machine are how I make it through my night shift rotations. And this is with me having two children under the age of three in the house with all of their chaos.  The actual night shifts themselves aren't that bad but the transition between nights and days is challenging. Eating a healthy diet helps as well. Limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol intake and it will help.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 10:38:54 AM by Smaug-stache »

GreenSheep

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2017, 10:48:17 AM »
Here's another vote for finding a new job. The long-term health consequences and the short-term damage to your quality of life are simply not worth it. Working night shifts has been shown to be equivalent to smoking a pack a day in terms of threats to your health. Starting at the bottom at $15/hour and working your way up is much, much better than sticking with this over the long term. Think of it as an investment in your health. Without your health, you're pretty much worthless for earning money.

In the meantime, however... making the room as dark as possible, using earplugs, and watching your diet are all helpful. Go to bed as soon as possible in the morning, and try to avoid sunlight as much as you can before bedtime. Guard your sleep time like a rabid skunk. Everyone you know needs to understand that you are absolutely, completely, and totally unavailable during that time, just as much as they are unavailable at 2am. Turn off your phone and put a sign on your door if you have to.

Good luck. Night shifts suck.

FIRE me

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2017, 11:54:22 AM »
It's a rotating schedule so we work 7 to 7. 

There's your problem. You'll never get good rest on a swing shift. I worked one for four years and I swore that no matter what else I might have to do in life, I'd never work a swing shift again.

Can you go to straight night shift? That would beat the swing shift. I worked midnight shift for a few years and it wasn't too bad.

Put heavy blackout shades or blankets on your bedroom windows, turn your phone ringer to off, and if your home is noisy, run a box fan for the white noise. Then you should sleep fine in the day. You can get up when others come home from work, and maybe even socialize a bit (as much as your 12 hour days may allow) before you go in to work.

The biggest downside is your off days. You have to sleep away most of the daylight. Or chose to sleep only a few hours, then get up feeling like crap (just like you do now).

Mustcho

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2017, 10:36:55 PM »
Sorry guys I was away from a computer for a while.  My shift is 3 days,  3 nights 6 off. 12 hour shifts. I'm 26 and married.  Not sure if I want kids yet. We do have a plan to do a half Fire I could accomplish in 4 years. That gives me some motivation to stick it out.  Knowing the end is in sight 

JLee

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2017, 10:59:10 PM »
Sorry guys I was away from a computer for a while.  My shift is 3 days,  3 nights 6 off. 12 hour shifts. I'm 26 and married.  Not sure if I want kids yet. We do have a plan to do a half Fire I could accomplish in 4 years. That gives me some motivation to stick it out.  Knowing the end is in sight

Can you find someone else who doesn't like the swing aspect and swap your days or nights so one of you is working 6 days and the other is working 6 nights?

chasesfish

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2017, 05:58:11 AM »
You have to decide what works for you.  I did a few overnight shifts and said "never again", quickly finished my degree.

I also think about those overnight shifts when I think about the unpleasant stuff I have to do in my current job, I just think "hell, at least I'm not doing that" and use it as motivation.

I'd find a new job if I was you, you have a nice head start at 26 and if you can't adjust to it, its not worth the years it may take off of your life.

sparkytheop

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2017, 08:32:45 AM »
I do a rotating shift (12 hours, 6-6), with a 10 week rotation, so it can be kind of crazy.

My room is in the basement, which helps a lot when I need to sleep during the day.  It's dark, and it can help mute a lot of noise from outside.  I like things completely dark, no alarm clock light, no power standby lights, I even unplug the tv so it can't glow at all.  The noise of a fan would drive me crazy, I just want silence as much as I can get it.

However, I love nights and am looking forward to when I can get more night shifts compared to days.

We have two guys here who swapped days and nights as people above have suggested attempting.  One has some health issues and the schedule was really adding to his problems.  The other enjoys nights.  So, years ago they traded as many days/nights as they could, and as a result, the guy with health issues only works days, and the guy he traded with only has to work a few days every 10 weeks.  They've had the schedule set up that way for so long, that it's now the official hours for those shifts (the night guy is retiring soon, but there is one person who wants it, who has seniority, so I miss out on it, unfortunately.  I will get to take a new shift with more nights, but it still has quite a few days.)

Coming off nights and back to days can be pretty brutal.  I'm lucky in that my son is grown and I'm single, so I don't have anyone wanting me to be up when they are up, going out to do stuff, etc, so I just sleep when I need to, don't set an alarm on my days off, etc.

The good things about my job far outweigh any of the negatives of shift work, at least for now.  I make good money (but actually took a paycut for this job), but there is no drama, and very little stress.  Several of the guys on the crew have wives and young children, which can be pretty rough since they feel in demand pretty often.

If you can, I'd tough it out until you can find a well paying job without the shift work.  If you can do it for a year or two, build up that base of money in the accounts early, so the compound interest can really kick in, you'll be set up for taking a lower paying job and saving much less later, if needed.

Bimmy

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2017, 11:32:18 AM »
I worked 1800-0600 for awhile. One thing that helped was making sure I didnt go to bed until 0800 or 0900. This made sure I had unwound from work, and that my body was ready to sleep. The black out curtains have been mentioned several times, and I agree- made a huge difference.

The hardest part about night shift (for me) was being forced to swing back to day shift. I accomplished this by only sleeping 2 hours after I was done with my last night shift. For example- work Wed, Thursday, Friday on the night shift. Get home at 0630 Saturday morning. Then I would sleep from 0900-1100 on Saturday morning. It took practice, but I was able to then sleep Saturday night like a "normal" person. I was then rested and ready to go for being on day shift the next week.

I dont recommend 2 hours of sleep, but after a time my body accepted that this was "correct."

max924

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2017, 07:08:22 PM »
I am in basically the exact same situation. I would say unless your Dr. tells you to get off shift now, then stick it out for a bit and build up that networth. In my job I have managed to take as much time off as possible (especially the nights) using vacation and unpaid leaves of absences that have been available to me. Saying that, I still hate it, but it is short term pain for long term gain.

If you are just an absolute zombie at all times because of this shift work, then yes, maybe look somewhere else. Is there no possibility of getting a Drs note to say you can't hack shift, which can land you a days job?

 

Mustcho

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2017, 10:36:53 PM »
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the input and support!  There was lots of ideas in there I haven't tried yet to make night shift work.  I realize how lucky I am to find myself making what I am and don't want to blow it before I try absolutely everything!

This is a great community! I hope I can give back

SuperMex

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Re: Night shift
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2017, 04:40:27 AM »
My suggestion is to keep milking the big paycheck it as long as you can!

My son was working in a factory (Industrial Engineer) and he had to work nights. These are some of our suggestions
  • Install blackout curtains in his bedroom. If installed correctly, it is pitch dark when they are closed,
  • Put together a white noise generator. The sound levels increased as the night ended, the white noise generator helps mask the noise.
  • Eliminate screen time(TV, computer, laptop, tablet) for a couple of hours before sleeping (blue light impacts sleep). You can use orange glasses to reduce blue light if you have to browse (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/07/can-orange-glasses-help-you-sleep-better/)
  • Go to sleep at the same time each day. You have sleep problems if you mess up the schedule for weekends etc.
  • Try using melatonin to help get you into the rhythm. This should not be a permanent solution

Best of luck with your sleep problems.

Everything Cowboy said and I would like to add a couple more. I used to teach this subject in the military for aviation students and I wrote part of the Military field manual on this as well.

No caffeine 5 hours before sleep time.
Don't eat, watch TV, read, or anything else in your bedroom.
There are only two activities you should do in your bed sleep and sex

If cowboys advice and mine above don't work you need to go see a sleep specialist.