About a month ago, I began working night shifts at my work. The reason I took the position was because it would give me a lot more hours than my previous position would. Because no one can live off of 25 hours a week. I knew what coming…so I thought.
I understood that the change to night time would take a lot of time to adjust to. I knew that I would be tired, and that I would be sleeping during the day. Little did I know how much I would miss the daylight. Sure this sounds exaggerated, but realistically, at this time of year, it is dark in the morning when I come home, and beginning to get dark when I wake up. I feel like a bat; alert and wide eyed at night, and cocoon like and sleeping in the day. Little did I know how much I would miss waking up in the morning, and not over sleeping. Here are some changes I have experienced while doing night shifts as a Care Aide:
All shift workers can say at some point or another feel nausea in this transition. I have read that many people have this awful feeling around 3-4am. For me, I feel nauseous between 6-8pm, during the evening while I am trying to wake up from my ‘night’ sleep. A constant icky feeling that wont go away.
Change in eating habits
When I wake up between 2-3pm, I oddly do not feel hungry. You think I would be famished considering I don’t eat breakfast, nor do I eat lunch, but I eat dinner and have a couple small snacks during my 8 hour shift. When I was on a normal routine of waking up in the morning, like 90% of the population, I would be starving when I woke up, after not eating for only maybe 10 hours. I always felt hungry, but now I don’t have that big of an appetite.
Change in sleep pattern
Inevitable. Of course there is a change in sleep pattern. I am talking about sleeping for 11 1/2 hours one day, and then maybe 5 hours the next. Then 11 hours of sleep the next day, and so on. 11 hours!!?? Who needs that much sleep? Apparently my body feels as though this is necessary. The worst part about this, is that after waking up from those long sleeps, I fought to keep my eyes open. In other words, my body most likely would have allotted me more time lazing about. After these 11 hours, I experienced drowsiness, and it felt like my head was cloudy. Perhaps like a hangover, or jet-leg. Too much sleep isn’t always good.
As I write this, I realize these symptoms look like pregnancy. In fact my residents at work pointed this out! Too funny. No, not pregnancy. I just need time to adjust to being a night owl. One thing I forgot to mention, is that to build up my pay a little bit more, I have also been picking up 6-8 hour morning shifts in between. Probably not a great thing to do if I am adjusting to nights. You do what ya gotta do. As crappy as it is, I am attempting to pull the positive side out of this situation, the bright side. Though so many cons, here is how I look at it; I am thankful to have a job! I am thankful a position came around that would help me more financially. I am also thankful for the residents that I work for and with, they are worth it all!