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(Re)Adjusting to midnights

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by msu_grad_121, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    So I'm getting used working midnights again, and overall it hasn't been too bad, what with the 5 on 3 off schedule. I've been able to get a full sleep cycle most times, even if it is during the day. I've decided to stay on my schedule even on my off days, but this time around, I seem to get a headache at various points of my time awake.

    Anyone ever run into this before? I've been on midnights with my prior department, and while I picked up a coffee habit, I never ran into this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, guys!
  2. Fallout

    Fallout County Mountie

    Sep 26, 2004
    Hows your eyesight? I notice either eye strain from to much bright sunlight or straining to see roadsigns and plates in the middle of the night will occasionally give me a headache. I usually just carried around advil with me. When I felt a headache coming on I would pop one before ir got too bad. Midnights does some strange things to the body. Hate the summer working 12's on nights. Sunny when you go to work and sunny when you go home. Gets the melatonin levels all jacked up.

  3. frizz


    Jul 6, 2012
    What you are describing is common for night work. Your decision to maintain the same sleep schedule on your off days as your work days is the best thing you can do. Still, you are awake when it is dark, and asleep when it is daylight. Your body hates this, and is rebelling with headaches.

    Even regular day workers who make a habit of staying up late on Friday and Saturday and sleeping late the following mornings get in trouble. If you have heard of "sleep hygiene" this is what it talks about. Do searches on sleep hygiene, and you may find some useful info.

    I can partially relate because I was a pizza driver 25 years ago. I typically got home at 3:00AM, so I tried to keep the same schedule. I was in college, so I never took any classes that started before 10:15, and I usually took afternoon and evening classes.

    One other thing. Get blackout curtains for your bedroom when you are day sleeping. Another trick is to get the cheap aluminum oven-sized trays and spray-painting them white to put in your windows. Avoid seeing ANY sunshine because the wavelengths the sun emits trigger reactions in your body to wake you up and hinder sleep.

    Getting up to go to the bathroom can be a problem depending on your home's layout, but dark sunglasses that block side light can help a good bit.

    I hope this helps...

    Run a fan to drown out noises, and consider ear plugs.
  4. I have been on midnights for the last two months and usually work about 6 months a year. I get a headache almost every day, usually an hour or two after I wake up. I have found that excedrine takes care of it.
  5. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    Yeah, that's my medicine of choice, too. It's just weird, because they're not terrible headaches, more annoying than anything, and they never happened when I was on mids prior to this. Strange.
  6. Same with mine. I get them when I work nights 1730-0315. Pretty much any time I am sleeping during daylight hours. Which is most of the time.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  7. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    I'm a freak and generally prefer nights.
  8. frizz


    Jul 6, 2012
    There are advantages in any line of work. Got business that can't be done except from 8-5? Working an odd shift allows you to get it done w/o burning leave to do it.
  9. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    I prefer nights, always have, but for some reason this time around, the transition is rough for me. Oh well, embrace the suck, right?

    GRIMLET Deceased

    Dec 29, 2011
    The only thing worse than headaches is the gut trouble during the transition. Maybe its more fast food. I don't know.
  11. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    We switch every three months so about the time I get good and adjusted to nights its time to switch.

    I do keep my night shift schedule on my off days, that helps some. As I am getting older nights seem to suck more.
  12. I went through the gut trouble too when I first went on straight nights but I got through it... I've been on nightshift for almost six years now and it really works for me. I do keep the same hours on my days off too, but that's not really an issue since my kids are grown.

    I have had the opportunity to go back to days but I'm really not interested.
  13. It's been several years since I was on mids and at that time, the department was still on the 4/2 schedule, we've gone to a pitman hybrid since then.

    I would come home and try to go right to bed in the morning and sleep until early afternoon. I'd get up to spend some time with the kids and then get an hour nap before going back in.

    On days off, I'd often try to sleep like normal people so I could do other family things and get errands done. On the 4/2 I was always cranky and tired. I am very familiar with that foggy, lowgrade headache feeling. As another wrote, the bowels seemed to run on their own clock and always kept things interesting.
  14. A friend of mine on NYPD rotates shift every week to every other week. If that doesn't suck I don't know what does. BTW you might want to talk to someone who does supplements, the headaches might be from not enough sunlight which helps to produce and maintain several functions in the body, there are ways to trick your body around it.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  15. I guess that makes 2 of us.....:wavey:.......I've been working mids (night crawler) for close to 21 years (10 on my prior department and 11 with my current) and never even thought of switching...I'd consider working days a punishment.....:crying:..The headaches could just be your bodies way of adjusting to night work again.....
  16. Schaffer


    Feb 18, 2012
    I too enjoy working at night,in fact I prefer it. I just wish I was on a set schedule. I work based on the days the Cheif needs me to work and its shifts whenever.

    Be happy your on a schedule.
  17. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful, and really have no complaints, this has just never happened to me, and it was hitting me weird. I've been lucky and avoided the gut issues so far. Or else, I have so many gut problems as is, I just don't notice. Ha!
  18. rockapede


    Sep 3, 2009
    One thing that makes a huge difference for me is earplugs. Between those and blackout shades, I adjust to nights in a couple of days with no real issues. I'll admit though, I'd be pretty nervous to wear earplugs to sleep if it wasn't for my dog.
  19. rookie1


    Mar 3, 2009
    Hows your Mt. Dew intake?
  20. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    I'm not super into caffeine, but I do enjoy the occasional Coke or Sprite when I can afford it. I'm not a fan of Mt. Dew, but I've drank it when I needed a kick in the butt and nothing else was available. I'll admit that I drink a Monster kinda rarely (I know, I know) to get me up and moving, but for some reason, nothing I tried last week helped. Eventually I got the same friggin headache, the caffeine might have just pushed it off a little bit. I'm obviously no expert on the subject.

    Again, I'm not talking about a migraine (which I had when I was younger and would give just about anything to never have again), but just enough to be distracting. I'm going to try some DD coffee tomorrow on the way in and see if that helps, and then maybe a booster around 0400? We'll see...