I need some help

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Mandy's picture
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I need some help

After this week, I will be going from working night shifts to working morning shifts. Any tips for adjusting to the difference besides going to sleep earlier. A lot of times my brain won't shut off and I don't know how to stop it. Any advice would be appreciated.

Magic Days's picture
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Sometimes a nice jog can help clear your head. And try and start the new schedule, up early to bed early as soon as you can. Waiting until the night before can be rough. A hot shower before bed is suppose to help you sleep as well.

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I worked rotating shifts for quite a few years...I would take a supplement called melatonin (as suggested to me from the occupational health person at work) to adjust to a new shift. Definitely look into it to see if it would work for you...it is available in the supplement section. Like any supplement they are not always for everyone...but it did work for me. here is a little info below

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland camera, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also buy it as a supplement.
What does natural melatonin do in the body?

Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours.

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Mandy's picture
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Magic Days wrote:
And try and start the new schedule, up early to bed early as soon as you can. Waiting until the night before can be rough.

I work nights until I switch. But Friday and Saturday I get off at 9:45 though. So I should be able to go to bed at a decent hour.

crazycatperson's picture
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If it were me, and if I had a weekend in between the last night shift and first day shift, I wouldn't go to bed earlier - I'd go to bed later. I'd force myself to stay awake an additional 6-8 hours Saturday and again Sunday, and then get to bed Sunday evening at the right time for the new job. For me, this would work a whole lot better than trying to go to sleep early when I'm not even a little bit tired.

Either that, or Ambien.

JMUDukz's picture
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I second the melatonin. It works for me to help "quiet" my mind so I can sleep. It doesn't make me groggy like an actual sleeping pill (heck, for all I know, it's a placebo effect, but its doing something for me!). I also find reading before bedtime (for anywhere from 30-60 mins) lets me unwind and gives time for the melatonin to kick in. Also, the standard stuff, watch your caffeine intake later in the afternoon, don't eat earlier, etc etc etc. You'll adjust after a few days. What time does a morning shift start??

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Mandy's picture
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I work until 21:45 Saturday then training starts at 08:30 Sunday.

Magic Mirror's picture
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I feel your pain! I just came off twenty years from midnights and afternoons to go to days! I find keeping on schedule helps me...even if i am not tired...i go to bed and read. The statistics show it takes a solid three months of working your new shift before your body will catch up. In the meantime, be good to yourself, allow yourself time to adjust and try to eat healthy....I doubled up my vitamins to keep from running down and getting sick.

h0ney227's picture
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I use melatonin. We switch shifts every month. So there's never any adjusting for us. We either work 6am-2. 2-10pm. Or 10pm-6am. I find the hardest shift to get on track with is the overnight shift. But I would take some melatonin and relax as early as I can.

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Mandy's picture
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Okay thank you. I will look into melatonin.

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Please check with your doctor before taking any supplements. Melatonin can cause side effects in some people such as depression, daytime drowsiness and headaches. It can also contraindicate with other meds such as birth control pills! Check it is right for you before you take it.

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Mandy's picture
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I don't take any other meds so I don't have to worry about that and can't afford doctor visit just to confirm to take it.

Kristen K.'s picture
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I know I'm late but I'm another vote for the melatonin

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I use it for jet lag. Strangely you cannot buy it in the UK so I always buy it in CVS works a treat and I rarely suffer. So go for melatonin. Or warm milk and alcohol that works too!

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Magic Mirror's picture
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Good idea Sally Ann...I like my warm milk with a little Kahlua and 1 ice cube eek

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Magic Mirror wrote:
Good idea Sally Ann...I like my warm milk with a little Kahlua and 1 ice cube eek

biggrin awesome

M
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I've done shiftwork since 2000 and often have trouble sleeping. Nevertheless, here are a few things I have tried that have had at least some success.

You might want to try experimenting with good times to workout or do exercise. I have a pretty good routine of exercising about 4-5 hours before I go to bed and then eating about an hour after that. My body naturally begins to slow down at the right time if I stick to that fairly well. A couple people I know work out much closer to when they go to bed, like 2 hours before. A really hot bath just before bed can do wonders, too.

Three things I've done to try to shut the brain down while in bed...
Believe it or not, I simply try to not think, which is different than trying to think about nothing. My wife swears this is impossible; I know it has worked for me at times. It's almost like meditating without purpose.
If you struggle with that, try to think about some little, meaningless detail about something you can't remember. The key here is that it has to be completely trivial and unimportant to you. I often try to remember a mathematical formula or a fact I know I used to know. That or I might try to remember what I ate for dinner two Wednesdays ago or the name of a friend of a friend that I only met once or twice three years ago. Nonsense stuff like that.
The current thing that works best for me, though, is to turn on a fan and try to listen to the sound it makes. I often can tune it in so well that everything else gets tuned out; you can only listen to that nice whitish noise for so long before you find yourself drifting off. Tired

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M I misread your post and thought you said you exercise for 4-5 hours! I thought crikey that would do it! Big smile

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M
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Yeah. That should work. wink

I thought of another thing I do once in awhile. At some point in the second half of the day, I set a very specific task that I HAVE to accomplish that night before I can go to bed. The closer to the end of the night I can do it the better. I like to pick something that I have been putting off for too long, but it MUST be something I know I can get done.

My theory behind this strategy is that we often go to bed with our brain working on unfinished business, which keeps us up, tossing and turning, mulling it over. Go to bed satisfied with a job well done (again, the more recent the better) and our brains tend to reward ourselves by resting and relaxing (and shutting up!).

Mandy's picture
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I'm also going to wake up the same time every day including day offs to help to get associated with waking up early.