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working nights


Egg Shen

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yesterday i bagged myself a new job which requires me to work full time on nights 11-8, sunday-thursday. I've worked the odd night shift before but ive never done it full time...it's a promotion at work so from a money perspective it's well worth me taking on, im a little daunted though as it's a pretty significant lifestyle change. I pretty much get a weekend off each week too so hour's wise it's pretty good.

 

anyone here worked nights? enjoy it? whatever, and anyone got any tips for sleeping patterns or anything. I don't start for another week so i aint really sure how to approach it.

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When I first started working nights (full time), it took me a while to get the hang of sleeping patterns. For the first few weeks I felt like I was in the twilight zone. You sleep a few hours after you get in, say for arguments sake you wake at 5/6pm on a day off, then you're completely fucked for the rest of the night. It's all down to the individual I suppose. I've known people who have worked nights full time for close to 20 years who are still occasionally thrown off their sleeping patterns.

 

Your social life will be greatly affected aswell. I'll also say watch out for Winter. You come home from work and it's dark. You wake up and it's dark. It's absolutely rotten, I dread it every year.

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yeh its gonna be weird that's for sure.

 

i think the plan at the moment is get in for about 8.30, stay up for an hour or so watch a bit of tv then pass out...hopefully sleep till 5/6 then get up and do shit till work. I guess i'll only really find out when i start doing it.

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Yep, that's what I do too. Well, most of the time anyway. I get home around 8am, have breakfast and do whatever, then I'm fast asleep by 10:30 - 11am. Like I said before though, it still throws me off sometimes. Last Monday for example. Due to my ballsed up sleeping pattern, I was awake 24 hours by the time by 4am break came around. That was a rough night, I can tell you.

 

Best thing to do if you have a couple of days off: get home and go straight to bed. Set your alarm for maybe 1pm and force yourself to get up. That way, you'll have had only a few hours sleep and should be knackered by the time 10pm comes. I've had Wednesday, Thursday and today off this week. By waking up early and going to bed before midnight, I've felt almost normal again. Only problem is, I'm back in tomorrow night. So say I wake up at 9am, that's THIRTEEN hours I'll have been awake just as I start my shift.

 

It can be very tricky, but after a few weeks hopefully you'll have worked out some kind of pattern. Good luck!

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yeh, well my scheduled days off are Friday and Saturday, so when i get home at 8.30 on a Friday morning, i'll just get a few hours kip in and get up and try enjoy almost two fulls days off. Sunday's gonna be the fucker when im up at a normal time but im due in work at 11pm. It's like just as i get back to normal ive gotta go back on it. That's the night im dreading each week.

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Apart from the sleep patterns the tricky thing is to avoid snacking too much. Some weeks I do nights and I find myself eating quite often just to keep my energy levels up whilst working. Then when I wake up from having a kip after work my energy levels are still low and feel the need to pick on biscuits, stuff like that. Stay away from stuff like Red Bull you will end up crashing, I find green tea/regular tea works best.

 

And drink shedloads of water, to point you need the toilet constantly, you stay hydrated plus it gives you an excuse to get up and go the toilet, keeping you active/moving

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yeh, well my scheduled days off are Friday and Saturday, so when i get home at 8.30 on a Friday morning, i'll just get a few hours kip in and get up and try enjoy almost two fulls days off. Sunday's gonna be the fucker when im up at a normal time but im due in work at 11pm. It's like just as i get back to normal ive gotta go back on it. That's the night im dreading each week.

 

Yeah going into work at night when having gotten up at a normal time that morning is a killer. Come 10.30 the previous week catches up with me and I could easily go to bed. Having a kip in the day doesnt help me much (i dont want to waste my weekend sleeping either)

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It's double for me! Off Thursday and Friday, in Saturday, off Sunday then back in Monday. It's very rare I get two days off together. It's one day here and another there. It's as horrible as it seems.

 

Best thing to do after coming back to work after a day off is to try and kip for a couple of hours at about 6pm or something. Or so I'm told anyway, I can never seem to do it.

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If you don't have them already, get blackout curtains or a sleep mask. Your body doesn't naturally want to sleep when it's light, so you need to get your bedroom as dark as possible. I'd also recommend hitting the sack as soon as you get home. If you stay awake and start watching TV or doing anything else that gets your brain running (and exposes you to too much light) you'll find it even harder to get to sleep when you do go, and that's how you end up not sleeping at all and feeling like absolute shit during and after your next shift. Do the general admin of your life in the few hours before you go to work, i.e. the same time you would do stuff if you were working normal hours. I'd recommend using the Friday morning for things that require you to be awake through the day like going to the bank or whatever else you might need to do. Otherwise, try not to mess with your schedule too much over the weekend. Sleep until the evening then spend the evenings on your social life. It won't mess with your sleep pattern and your social life stays active.

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If you don't have them already, get blackout curtains or a sleep mask. Your body doesn't naturally want to sleep when it's light, so you need to get your bedroom as dark as possible. I'd also recommend hitting the sack as soon as you get home. If you stay awake and start watching TV or doing anything else that gets your brain running (and exposes you to too much light) you'll find it even harder to get to sleep when you do go, and that's how you end up not sleeping at all and feeling like absolute shit during and after your next shift. Do the general admin of your life in the few hours before you go to work, i.e. the same time you would do stuff if you were working normal hours. I'd recommend using the Friday morning for things that require you to be awake through the day like going to the bank or whatever else you might need to do. Otherwise, try not to mess with your schedule too much over the weekend. Sleep until the evening then spend the evenings on your social life. It won't mess with your sleep pattern and your social life stays active.

Aye, I'd say that's a good idea. It seems mental to me to constantly force yourself to drastically change your sleeping pattern every weekend. I only ever worked nights for two shifts, though. It was twelve hour shifts and it took me two hours on the bus to get there, two hours to get back. Horrible, depressing work as well. Messing about with bolts and washers in a pesticide container factory. I couldn't hack it.

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If you dont mind me asking, what job is it? My friend has just got a job working nights for Eddie Stobarts, sounds like similar shifts.

 

I've been working nights for 4 years now. It was only supposed to be a stop gap job after I left uni and im still doing them! I feel abit hypocritical but my main advice would be to get off them asap. You get stuck in abit of a rut otherwise I think. As people have said, it plays hell with your social life, you end up being too tired before work to do much and end up being too tired on your nights off to be bothered going out. I feel it gets harder the longer you do them, getting to be quite a struggle for me now. Plus, you start looking and feeling like shite. When I first started them I thought I could have the best of both worlds, work in the night, sleep til about 12 in the day, get up and go back in at 10pm. Needless to say that didn't last long. You NEED your sleep. As people have said, dark room, go bed about half an hour/an hour after you get in and try and stay in bed for atleast 7/8hrs.

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When I worked nights i used to end up sleeping for ages, because I didn't have any reason to get up until about 9pm. I'd sleep from about 7am till 5pm.

 

At one point I worked 12 hour night shifts so it felt like I wasn't doing anything besides sleeping and working. Money was good though.

 

I don't recommend trying to get up early at the weekends in order to live normal hours, it'll just fuck your body clock up. I started off doing it and I'd always end up passing out on Sunday afternoon.

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If you dont mind me asking, what job is it? My friend has just got a job working nights for Eddie Stobarts, sounds like similar shifts.

it's a team leader position with Tesco. Its more than double what i currently earn (pay increase, plus more hours). There's obviously a good chance that i can get on days eventually so it probably won't be permanent. Job-wise i think i'll enjoy it, your kinda left alone and you just get on with the job and you lose the hassle of customers. Nights just suit some people i guess, i aint gonna know till i tried it, until this point ive never considered it, but this position was offered to me and it was something i couldn't really turn down.

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