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How to Work the Third Shift and Stay Healthy

Tips on Sleep, Nutrition and At-Work Activities


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I am a DAY person, that happens to work the NIGHT SHIFT. I have spoken with fellow workers, who mostly cannot get enough sleep during the day, and work sleep deprived all the time. I could NEVER work with out a decent amount of sleep.

Me, I have my rituals....I always have breakfast when I get home, and don't usually retire for about 2-3 hours after eating. I take 2 calcium tabs, and 1 magesium, also take valarian root for sleep, sometimes I will take a benadryl instead. When I sleep at night I take melatonin too, but not during the day.

THEN, I have my sleep mask, Can't tolerate the windows being darkened, as my brain keeps waking me, and wondering what time it is... so the mask works best. I do NOT usually use ear plugs, unless the dog next door is out and barking.

I get 6-7 hours of sleep before I work the next night. Report
I work at a hospital that I work a 60-72 hour shift. I don't leave the hospital. I am often woke up every two hours. I have learned to control the eating during the night by drinking water but during the day is my downfall. The days I have had a broken up 3-4 hours of sleep and still have 20 hours to go....I EAT!! I often don't have time to eat a meal. I eat a fair amount of fruit because it is handy but I am more than lacking in the veggie department. I would love to have some eating advice as to high protein choices(not high carbs, that's what I choose) that are easy to eat on the run. Anyone have some suggestions? Report
im a casual nurse and ive managed to loose over 20lbs by not snacking. I eat my meals with protien and veggies and 2 pieces of fruit a day whenever i want them for an meal and eat each meal 5-7 hours apart, seeing as im never able to eat at a normal time anyways. My fave ngiht shift meal that keeps me going is 75g of light cheddar a whole sliced red or green pepper and 5 or 6 rye crackers (finn crisps are my fave!) and its not so heavy that you are stuffed. that being said it was hard to break the snaking to stay awake habit but if u dont reach for snacks your insulin levels arnt peaking and dropping causing you to crash...try it at least 2 weeks to decide if it will work...was sceptical myself at first... but now i have more energy than ever! Report
I work 7-7...7 days and 7 nights in a 4 week period. Sometimes I don't even know what day it is or if it's morning or night. Most of the time when I'm on nights I get 4-5 hours of sleep and by the 3rd or 4th night, I'm so tired that I don't have the energy to worry about what I'm eating or to exercise. I would really like to see more information that could help those of us "lucky" enough to work swing shift. =) Report
My issue is altogether different. I work a swing shift where every day and every week my schedule is different. I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep because I have to be at work at different hours each day! I enjoyed this article because even though it doesn't exactly speak to my problem, it addresses a growing problem with lots of people. Report
MOMMATAURUS I can relate all to well. I work 11pm to 7am sometimes 7 to 7 or 11 to 11
Three to four days a week I have my grandchildren. I get them around 3pm and take them home on my way to work. When I get home in the mornings I make my husband breakfast and try to get our dinner started. A lot of crock pot meals. He also works third shift. So I am lucky to get 3 to 4 hours of sleep a day. I do find it hard to figure out my eating schedule since I am up almost 20 hours a day. And since I have started this shift 7 years ago I have gained at least 60 lbs. and am having a very hard time working with a diet. If anyone has any ideas on a good eating plan please let me know. Thanks Report
I work 12 hour shifts 7Pm-&am and sleep sometimes becomes a luxury Report
Finally an article I can relate too. I am a nurse and have worked the night shift for 4 years. I still havent been able to get a schdule down. I hoping to implement some of these tips and see what I can do to make things better. I hope to see more of these articles in the near future. Great information! Report
I also work nights as a Switchboard Operator at a Hospital. I do 2 day shifts from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, then 2 night shifts from 6:30 pm until 6:30 am, then I am off for 4 days. I really like the idea of being off during the week.

When I work nights I always sleep during my lunch. Any suggestions at what time would be the latest for me to eat? When I wake up I always eat a very light supper.

Thanks for the articles it was great to see that someone does listen Report
I am a mom of 3 and sleeping during the day is literally impossible. I have my 4 year old home. My 7 and 8 year old get off the bus at 4pm. I typically sleep from noon to 2pm when the 4 year old naps. Get up, get kids, help with homework, clean house, make supper, then I hop back in bed around 7pm and I sleep until 9:30 when its time to get ready for work. I am out o the house by 10pm to commute to work by 11pm. I have been doing this sleep pattern for 2.5 years. I am losing my hair, I am tired all the time. I can only hope when my 4 year old enters kindergarten that I can finally sleep! That's not for another 2 years! ARG! Report
i am looking for effective ways to eat my meals, in other words do i eat dinner, lunch then breakfast and at what time should my last meal be????? Help i am ready to win this battle!!!!! Report
i work 3rd shift at a mental hospital-fantastic advise and true words of wisdom-would love to see more articles on this. Report

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