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Thread: Working graveyard? What helps you sleep normal hours on your days off?

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    Working graveyard? What helps you sleep normal hours on your days off?

    Looking to see what works for others.

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    I was always so tired I didn't have any problems just going to bed.

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    I don't. I sleep 1300-2100 even on my days off. Fortunately, I have a very understanding wife.

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    What are these normal hours you speak of? On the days you work, you sleep as late as possible. On your off time, you sleep less so that you can get errands done and spend time with family. Rinse and repeat for several years until you can transfer to days if thats your thing. There are ways you can sleep better by blacking out windows and killing the dog, but there is no way to sleep 0800-1400 for three days and then convince your body to sleep 2300-0800 for one or two, then again through the process. This is why graveyards are left for the young at heart

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    Quote Originally Posted by NuBoot1035 View Post
    Looking to see what works for others.
    I've been working it since March of this year (when I got out of training), and it's tough. I've tried a number of different things, and let me tell you, there's no easy way. I try and stay away from the sleeping pills too. I work 6pm-6am, four on, four off. What I've found to be the most effective, is on my last day of work, I stay up as late as I can. I go to bed exhausted, and sleep in as late as I can. It works pretty good, and then on my last day off I stay up as late as I can again (about 3am) to get adjusted back. But there's no easy solution for it, it sucks.

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    I used to sleep as much as possible while off shift and consume a lot of "5 Hour Energy" while on shift to stay awake and keep alert.

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    B-e-e-r.......
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    When working graveyard shirt on 8s and then 12 hour shifts I tried to do the rotating sleep schedule and nothing worked. Some guys were able to pull it off and seemed to enjoy it. I eventually just excepted that I was not one of them and slept during the day and stayed up at night on my days off.
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    Some people can easily adjust to nights. Most people cannot. I’m a natural nightfighter, and always have been.

    I have worked 11-7 by choice since August of 1977.

    I'm single so I don't have to worry about kids or a wife waking me up in the middle of the day. The phone with the answering machine is in the living room.

    I have thick curtains & black plastic garbage bags on the windows of my bedroom. And a pedestal fan to provide white noise. I sleep best in a cold environment, so I keep the A/C turned on in the summer and the heat turned down low in the winter.

    I usually go to sleep between 8 and 9 in the morning and get up about 5 in the afternoon.

    I like the midnight shift because it leaves my evenings free, and I can do whatever I want before work, as long as it doesn't involve consuming alcohol.

    As far as caffeine goes, I try to fire up about two hours before shift, or have a big cup of coffee in briefing, and then try to avoid any heavy caffeine the rest of the shift. No caffeine the last 4 hours unless I'm desperate.

    I usually drink tea at home, coffee in the PD and iced green tea on the road.

    Sometimes I take half a generic Tylenol PM before sleeping. It usually works pretty well but not always.

    Years ago I experimented with melatonin, but it didn't seem to have any particular effect for me.

    Most noise doesn't bother me when sleeping. The neighbor kids can play right under my bedroom window and I sleep right through it. Same with lawnmowers or snow plows.

    I still sometimes have problem staying asleep in the summer when the sun is really bright -- sometimes I wake up at about 1pm and have difficulty getting back to sleep.

    On my first day off, I go to bed about 9am and then wake up by 2pm. I can then go back to sleep again about midnight. On my first day back I don't have any fixed routine -- I have tried but found nothing that worked particularly well other than a short nap in late afternoon before going to work.

    My dad worked the midnight shift as a mechanical supervisor for many years. He is NOT a natural “night person” but he was very disciplined in his sleep pattern and he made it work for about 25 years. On his first day off (Friday), he’d go to bed at 8am and get up shortly after noon and then be up and able to sleep at night for the next few nights. On his first day back (Sunday) he’d get up about 5am and be up until about 2pm, and then he’d go to sleep until about 6pm and then wake up and have dinner and then go in to work at 10. That worked for him for a long time.

    I know lots of guys who stay up all day on their first day off. I have almost never done that unless I had training or OT or court or something during the day that precluded my going to sleep.

    I can still go in at 3pm and work a double shift pretty well, but now that I'm closing on 55 I can't work all night and then work all day anymore.

    One thing I have learned is that I ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT eat after work before going to sleep.

    I put on weight if I even THINK about doing that. And now that I'm old, I get heartburn if I eat and then try to sleep.

    I usually have a protein shake when I get home, and then go to sleep.

    For me, having the room really dark isn't essential. It just has to be shadowy. Temperature seems to be a bigger factor.

    But everybody has different experiences, and your preferences will probably change over time

    Some people can easily adjust to nights. Most people cannot. Whether or not you can adjust to working nights is something that people should think through when considering law enforcement or any other career that operates on a 24/7 schedule.

    I always thought that was something that should be considered during the selection process – has the applicant ever worked a job where they worked evenings or nights, and weekends and holidays.
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    Lots of good advice from Jeff... I have found that not having a sleep/wake/eat schedule works the best for me. My schedule changes often and then I have to figure in OT Shifts, Court, training, instruction time. I normally just try to sleep when I can and keep a regualr schedule in the gym.

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    I never had problems sleeping at any time whenever I worked the graveyard shift. Your body just wants to go to sleep at its natural time. The going to sleep was never a problem. It was the waking up to go to work that was hell.

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    I worked nights for 15 yrs

    During that time I tried every possible combination of sleeping and waking possible.

    What worked for me didn't necessarily work for my co-workers.

    Many remain on a "night shift" schedule at all times 7 don't try to change over to day shift on their days off........................it never worked for me as I really wanted to have a family life.

    I ended up going to sleep immediately when I got home on my "Friday NIGHT" Then getting up about noon......................going to bed at 9-10 pm, Up and about on the next day

    Then getting up real early on my "Monday" and taking a nap between noon and 5 pm before going to work @ 10 pm..

    I was tired all the time, but I had a family life................
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    I have a guest bedroom setup with blackout curtains, and I use a pedestal fan for white noise. Fortunately I live in the desert so there aren't any lawnmowers to worry about.
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    I use a noise machine, I really like the running water or rain forest setting. I keep similar sleep pattern during my off days. Light doesn't really bother me that much, but my 4 & 1 year old kids do.
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    When I worked 2100-0700... I would get home at 0800 and sleep until 1900. I needed my sleep. I pretty much worked and slept.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhelrey View Post
    When I worked 2100-0700... I would get home at 0800 and sleep until 1900. I needed my sleep. I pretty much worked and slept.
    That is a funny thing about working the graveyard shift. For some strange reason, you could sleep all day, and yet you never feel refreshed. Back then, I could pretty much just sit down and fall asleep at any given time.

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    I'm gonna piggy-back a question here-- do you grave guys keep a good workout schedule as well? How does that work for you?
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    ^^ I feel you should NOT work out right after getting off work; your body will remain at an elevated level for 3 to 4 hours after the workout......making it very difficult to get to sleep. Best to do it in the afternoons before work, or on your off days.
    Just another squirrel, tryin' to get a nut......

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    I apologize ahead of time, as I am not a LEO. However, I have worked crazy hours before. I would stay away from most meds. Benadryl (although safe) makes you extremely groggy, as do other prescription meds. I would recommend you try a Melatonin supplement, it comes in 3mg and 5mg tablets...I would just try to 3mg first to see if it works for you. It is available OTC at any grocery store.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietPro View Post
    ^^ I feel you should NOT work out right after getting off work; your body will remain at an elevated level for 3 to 4 hours after the workout......making it very difficult to get to sleep. Best to do it in the afternoons before work, or on your off days.
    I never had a problem with working out on the way home. Hit the gym for about an hour, got some breakfast, rested for about an hour watching television and catching up on other random stuff, then went to bed.

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    Che
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    Everyone is different, ages, background, etc.

    At 22 it was easy to work graveyard, hit the gym, etc, etc. At 55 it is a beast.

    I use to only sleep 6 to 7 hours (all at one time) a day to get everything in. Now I sleep 4 when I get off and another 4 before I go back in. So 8 to 9 hours sleep in a 24 hour period.

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    Im 24 and have always been able to stay up all night. I work midnight -8am, I usually have zero problems staying awake the whole shift until about 6am when I get bored to tears since theres usually no runs coming out. I usually get home around 830, strip everything off and jump in bed. I don't need total darkness, and i sleep until 6p . I have better sleep working nights than I did when I was a daywalker. I don't worry about the lawnmowers or loud cars since im dead to the world tired when I get home, you could shoot a cannon in front of my house and I probably wouldn't hear it.

    On my first off day im still on Night shift mode, but by the next one i sleep normal. Personally I like the fact that there's not much traffic out during night shift, and no honest people are out roaming the streets at 0 dark 30 so you know who your customers are.

    My question to yall is, do you "Work" the whole 8 hrs? With it getting colder out we're not as proactive and not getting as many calls for service. We usually eat dinner at 4am then lay low until 7 when the morning commuters start having car wrecks.
    Last edited by lpstopper; 11-17-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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    Rub one out and take an Advil PM. Seriously, we switch from graves to morning shifts every month. I constantly have trouble sleeping especially in the winter. I now pop a Benedryl as soon as I get home and zonk out hard 1 1/2 hours later.
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    On the first day off I would always try to stay up most of the day. By 8pm I was totally exhausted and would go to sleep for 12 hours. Then I would feel normal for at least one day per week. The key to midnights is to go to days as soon as possible. Mids suck.

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    I worked 1930 to 730 for 14 months and never got used to it. I would fall asleep as soon as I got home and wake about 2 hours before my shift. I never understood why I would go to sleep at 2300 when working days and wake up 6 or 7 hours later feeling great but working nights I could sleep 10 hours and be tired all the time.

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