Night Shift & Sleeping During the Day.....

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by dp509, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. dp509

    dp509 2009 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

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    I find that I am only able to sleep only five or five and a half hours after going to bed. :dunno:

    I usually have to go the bathroom and then that is it.

    Unable to go back to sleep. :crying:

    Today, wife and kids go to see relatives, perfect chance to sleep....I only get five and a half hours........Go Figure.........

    What do you do to sleep longer?

    We have room darkening curtains and I have a noise generator (It only works for twenty minutes).

    Thanks in Advance :wavey:
     
  2. Narc1911

    Narc1911 Anchora Salutis

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    I just close the blinds, play music, and have a fan going.

    But I am one of those people that sleep better in the morning and day than I do at night. I sleep like **** when I am in bed 10pm to 7am, but sleep awesome 9am to 4pm.
     

  3. 1985_CarbStang

    1985_CarbStang

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    If you're room is dark I find that starting a melatonin regiment is a good deal. I was on nights for over three years and recently went to 3-11 shift. Also if you work out you may start doing some light stuff before bed to help burn off some cortisol that you gain over night from the constant up and down of adrenaline. Just my .02.

    ps- also, there is a wealth of information about melatonin online, but as anything medically related always consult a doctor before starting. ;)
     
  4. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    Good luck brother. I remember those six or seven months when I had to do midnights. I was ALWAYS tired. My solution was to get to work days ASAP. Since then, I have never, ever, taken for granted the privilege of working days or afternoons.
     
  5. Hearmoretalkless

    Hearmoretalkless

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    Room darkening curtains isn't enough, you have to cut off ALL light. A basement bedroom, then cardboard over the window. The best I ever did was a basement bedroom next to the furnace, on the back side of the house with plywood over the window -- THAT room was dark and QUIET! Take a leak before you go to bed -- limit your liquid intake for a couple of hours before you get home and go to bed.

    Get a humidifier - you sleep better if the air is wetter (about 70% RH) plus the fan acts like white noise. White noise is your friend -- find a level you can tolerate and get used to it. If you can still hear traffic or kids or your wife on the phone, then ratchet it up a little.

    There are some facts emerging that melatonin screws with some of your other brain chemicals like seratonin and others, making you crabby, forgetful. I know that when I took it for more than 3 days, I was sleeping 8-10h but I wasn't feeling RESTED and I felt hollow. Also, if you take a melatonin supplement, your body may stop producing melatonin on its own... which makes getting OFF the melatonin harder to do. So melatonin is ok to get your new sleep rhythm started, but discontinue after 2 days.

    If you have kids in your house, get used to sleeping with soft foam earplugs. When inserted properly, you should be able to rest your head on your pillow and not have any crunchy sounds in your ear from the plug rubbing. Any safety supply store can sell you a selection. I like Howard Leight brand Laser Lite. BONUS: you can put them under your earmuffs at the range and gain an extra 5-8 NRR.

    HTH
     
  6. ditchdoc24

    ditchdoc24

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    I've been on night shift this time about 4 months so far. I worked 2 years on nights previously and I had the same problem. We covered all the windows in our bedroom with cardboard and tinfoil. It's not TOTALLY dark but much, much better than it was before. My shift runs 6pm to 6am so I totally stop drinking any caffeinated beverages at about 0300 hours and limit my water intake also. When I get home, I take 50mg of Benadryl, eat breakfast and go to bed at about 7:30. The benadryl doesn't knock me out, just makes me able to roll over and go back to sleep. I usually get up about 4pm and it works for me.
     
  7. CBennett

    CBennett

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    nothing rally I have a "air cleaner" that provides some white noise but thats about it. I get to bed around 9:30-9:45am and wake up at around 4:30PM give or take 1/2 a hour...yes on some days I DO have trouble getting back to sleep when ive gotten up to use the bathroom but not normally..I normally do April-December on the M/W (Midnight -8am) and then switch it up with 1 quarter(Jan-March) of Days 8am-4pm...I try to AVOID the swing 4-12pm like the plague and have not worked that in 7+years and will avoid it for the next 9 if I can!
     
  8. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    I worked nights for many years, most of them by choice. Dog handlers in the military used to work only at night, (before the days of bomb or drug dogs) so that was 4 years of either swings or mids.

    Once I was off probation I chose to work mids easily 80% of the year... worked out good for college at night, go to class then right to work plus most of your court time is automatic overtime not to mention popping a DUI right before shift change, (after hour clubs in Dade county used to be open until 6AM), that was another couple hours OT.

    My FTO when I pulled my first mid taught me straight away, don't try to end shift then go home and go to bed... usually doesn't work. Ending your work day at 6 or 7 in the morning is the same as everyone else getting off at 5 in the afternoon. Do they go home and jump into bed... to sleep that is. No. Why would we think that just because we might work different hours on a clock that our body still wouldn't act the same?

    Took a little while to get in the rhythm but it became second nature to end shift, go have breakfast with some of the guys or get home and do a few chores as if it were 5:30 in the afternoon... cut the grass, wash the car... whatever. This all depended on court schedules of course but the trick was simply to reverse your sleeping schedule by 12 hours.

    I was usually in bed by 10:30 or 11, slept like a baby for 6 or 7 hours, did the family thing for a few hours, longer if there was no class that night or off duty job then boom, back for another mid.

    That old FTO knew what he was talking about... his advice worked like a charm.

    Jack
     
  9. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    I've been on midnights for a few months over a year.

    I've found you will ALWAYS be tired after only a few hours. Even on my days off I tend to not quite feel great; still always tired.

    Our shift gets off around 0800, which is a disadvantage for getting right to sleep. The guys who get off at 0600 can get home and get to sleep when it's still dark; they get better sleep because of it. After an hour or more of daylight, I am not nearly as tired as I was at 0530-0630, which is the worst time for me.

    I go home, get ready for the gym and hit the gym for a couple of hours. It takes me longer to do what I was able to do in just an hour on a regular shift. After the gym, I eat lunch and relax for a couple of hours. Bed between 1400-1500 hours, on a good day. Then, I get up at 2330 for work. It seems like the only hours of REALLY GOOD sleep are after 1900.
    I drink a ton of water while working out. It usually makes me get up while during my sleep, but usually, it's closer to a normal bed time and I sleep better afterward.

    On days I don't workout, I try to be productive around the house, pay bills, run errands, grocery shop, anything to kill a few hours.

    I don't have much of a life during the work week. No kids, no wife or girlfriend. It's an advantage. It's not uncommon to sleep 15-18 hours every few weeks on my days off. For some reason, I still feel tired after "catching up".

    Then, there's court, that'll mess my pattern up for several days. That's why it really pisses me off when they have me come in so they can tell me to go home even after I call to ensure I am NEEDED.

    There is no winning on midnights. You're fighting nature. I've even found I don't feel right being out during the day. People joke midnight workers are vampires, but I think there are some real changes you experience.
     
  10. KING-PIN

    KING-PIN

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    I've been doing it for about 4 months now and can tell you what helped me.

    Come home and stay up for a couple of hours. Then when you're ready to go to bed, take a couple tylenol PM or Excedrin PM and head off to bed. When you wake up, if it's too early, keep laying there until you're ready to get up.

    Keep up this routine until your body adjusts. As others have said, make sure the room is dark. They make curtains, like the ones at hotels, that will block out like 90 percent of sunlight. Those really help.

    Hope this helps somewhat.

    Good luck! With a routine, you can get it down. I too require less sleep now that I'm on 3rd shift.
     
  11. RF7126

    RF7126

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    How do you guys deal with the lack of sunlight and weird social aspects? For example, when you work almost no one is out or awake, it's like a different dimension. I've been working 2nd and 3rd shifts for years and living on a 3rd shift schedule and it's messing with me quite a bit now.

    Gioajack,
    Did you find that schedule satisfied your body's need for "daytime"? It seems like I'd be all discombobulated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  12. CAK

    CAK

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    White noise machine is a MUST; this one works for me for the past few years:
    http://www.marpac.com/soundscreen.asp

    Room darkening product that is easily removable: Reflectix foil bubble wrap sold at Home Depot for about $20 (or at Amazon.com). Cut it to the exact dimensions of your window and it will block 100% of the light and make your room like a cave. Plus, on days off, your wife can remove it to let the sun shine in. http://www.amazon.com/Reflectix-BP48010-48-Inch-10-Feet-Insulation/dp/B000BPAULS/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

    It does take about three weeks to adjust to the new schedule. Hang in there!
     
  13. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    I certainly don't remember having any problems along those lines but quite honestly I'm to the point that I can't even remember if I had breakfast this morning.

    I would guess that there are two basic reasons that working mids never bothered me;

    In Miami we obviously didn't have long, cold snowy winters, the only way you knew it wasn't summer was you changed to the winter uniform, a simple addition of a light weight Eisenhower style jacket, (waist length), and there were no mosquitos.

    Secondly, I think part of it was psychological, I wanted to work mids so I accepted it as the norm and adjusted accordingly.

    I really don't think 'lack of sunlight' ever entered into it. You still had 2 days off every week, a few hours of sunlight until you hit the sack and in the summer it doesn't get dark till around 9PM. People who sit in an office all day really don't get much more sun than that.

    All in all it really wasn't that big of a deal and although we didn't get a nighttime differential you could pretty much double your yearly salary with all the OT and comp time.

    Jack
     
  14. JoeDanger

    JoeDanger

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    I find it best for me to have my room completely blacked out. I use a piece of foam foil-backed insulation board cut to fit my window. That pretty much blacks out the room. I also use a small fan near my bed for white noise.

    Another thing that helps is to limit fluid intake--especially caffeine in the later half of the shift. I usually eat light as well. I find that going to breakfast with the guys (where the meal is usually heavy/greasy) doesn't do me any favors.

    If you go home after the sun comes up, wear your sunglasses on the ride home. Sunlight (UV) in your eyes causes a natural hormone reaction as part of your circadian rhythm that can adversely affect your ability to sleep. Generally speaking, I try to keep my sleep pattern on my days off, which seems to help me sleep better during the day throughout my cycle of night shift. YMMV
     
  15. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

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    I used to work 12 hour shifts on patrol, 6P to 6A, man that was rough about 2:00 AM, everybody would start getting sleep unless weekends and answering a lot of caLLS. Never felt good except on off days, wkd 4 off 4, lots of time off but still tired. PLUS, that's when the big-chested badge bunnies are most prevelant! Yummy for midnight snacks!!
     
  16. Aquanewt

    Aquanewt

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    Go to the junk yard and find a spare front seat out of a car like your cruiser. Sit in that thing and you will be in Z city in no time
     
  17. opelwasp

    opelwasp ZOG/MORON LUBE

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    I just use a sleep mask from Walgreen's. It makes it dark and is made of neoprene so it is comfortable too.
     
  18. Broke Hoss

    Broke Hoss

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    Some people just have a biological clock that can never adjust. Mine has always been set for mids. I'm still that way; here it is 0340 on my last day off for this week & I'm watching ESPN & on COPTALK. When I worked days, I rarely got 6 hrs sleep. I sleep 0800-1400 everyday now & get up then to do work around the house before 2100 briefing.

    I think man was made to work nights; we sleep with eyes closed to keep light out, not to keep the dark out; the sun is bad for you, gives you skin cancer. It's just natural to work nights & sleep days.
     
  19. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

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    I have the entire room dark and put on a fan to drown out the noise. I have the Fire department (volunteer with a really annoying siren that goes off every freaking minute:steamed:) The railroad is only 200 yards from my doorstep, I have a trucking company about 100 yards to my east, a biker bar about a quarter mile to the south, and a bunch of hillbilly neighbors that don't know the meaning of quiet, and I still get about 8 hours of sleep every day. Try getting rid of any ambient light and use a fan. Get a fan that has a tone that agrees with you though, otherwise it will keep you awake. I work from 4:00 in the afternoon until 2:30 in the morning four days a week. I know where your coming from. Good luck, I hope this helps! :wavey:
     
  20. matt86

    matt86 Oink Oink

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    When I was on fourth shift in training I had a lot of issues. I was VERY depressed and couldn't find out why. I'd stay up at night having panic attacks even on my nights off and couldn't pinpoint the cause. It eventually went away and I was assigned to 3rd shift permanently (3pm-2am) and hated it. I put back in for forth shift and I love it (8pm-7am). I go to work, get off at 7am and workout before going home.

    Now I also have two close friends on 4th shift so we are all on the 4th shift schedule and that helps a lot. My only real issue with it is the fact that my girlfriend doesn't understand that I stay up all night and she expects me to get up early and acuses me of sleeping the day away :steamed:.