I just started working some night shift this past January to accommodate my school schedule. I am in nursing school and had class Tuesday-Friday during the day. My work pattern was one weekend nights (2200-0630) then the next weekend, days (0600-1430).
To help me sleep during the day, I have blackout curtains and a window air conditioner in my room. I got the curtains at JC Penney – they let in a little glow around the edges, but I also use a sleep mask so it is not a problem. The AC unit is great for white noise. During the winter I used foam ear plugs if it was noisy. I have no children and a very considerate husband, so I have only used the earplugs a couple of times.
I generally take 2 Tylenol PM before going to sleep, so I get 50 mg Benadryl and 1000 mg Acetaminophen. For some reason, this works better for me than just taking the same amount of Benadryl! I get off work at 0630, and usually get to bed btween 0700 & 0800. My goal is to get 8 hours of sleep but sometimes I settle for 7. I typically sleep for 4-5 hours, go to the bathroom, then head back to bed for another 2-3 hours. I need as close to 8 hours of sleep as I can get consistently or I will start to feel fatigued and get sick! However, this slightly broken up sleep still works for me.
I had to go back & forth between day schedule and my every-other-weekend night schedule, so on the first day I had to go in at 10pm (after having early morning classes) I would take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. I like to nap 4pm-7pm, so then I have some time to be awake at home before going in to work. The reason for the nap is so that I am not up for 24 hours by the time my first night shift is over!
This summer I had no classes and worked mostly nights. I found that my body shifted over to night schedule after about 3 weeks of working nights, and on my nights off it was hard to go to bed before 2am! The Tylenol PM is pretty gentle and only works for me when I am tired from a shift. It doesn’t do much for me if I am wide awake and then take it… so my hubby had to deal with a few nights of me coming to bed at 2am and sleeping late the next day.
I prefer to exercise when I wake up (3 or 4pm), before going in to work. It wakes me up, so I don’t want to do it before heading to bed.
Sounds like everyone is different! Let us know what works for you when you try some of these tips!