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Old 03-23-2020, 09:33 AM
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Night workers - what is/was your life schedule like?


I think it's safe to say that folks who work a more or less normal day job have a typical routine:
  • Get up
  • Go to work
  • Come home
  • Do stuff till bedtime
When I was younger and single, I worked 11PM - 7AM. My routine was generally:
  • Go to work
  • Come home and sleep
  • Get up and do stuff
On the very few occasions I had to cover the 3-11PM shift, it was similar to my Mids routine. But by then, I was married and it was the only way I'd see my family during the work week.

My SIL is currently on a night shift, but he comes home between 11 and midnight, tends to chores and leisure activities, then sleeps in till 10 in the morning. On one level, it makes me crazy, but I recognize he is a night person while I'm a morning person and he's entitled to "sleep in." I still find it jarring because morning = get up!

If you've worked atypical hours, how did you live your life? If you lived with family or others, did your hours cause friction?
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:40 AM
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I work 11 PM to 7 AM. I work, go home and sleep and get up about 4. There is only my cat, so as long as she gets to sleep on me/hog the bed she is fine.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:55 AM
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Years ago my husband worked 10pm-6am. He hated it and so did I. Our life revolved around him trying to get sleep. He couldn't fall asleep when he got home in the morning so he'd be up for a couple of hours. Then he'd nap, then get up, then nap.... He couldn't ever get any good solid sleep and was always tired and crabby. On the weekends all he did was nap. I'd have to tiptoe around the house all day. Maybe he would have eventually been able to get his sleep/wake hours straightened out. I'm just glad that's over.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:40 AM
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I used to run the night crew at a Safeway. Scheduled 1000P-630A. I basically just flipped AM and PM. Whatever I used to normally do at 700P, I'd just do at 700A instead. Used to go to bed about midnight, so I'd just start going to bed at noon. I was living by myself at the time and didn't have anyone to disturb so I wasn't ever bothering anyone.

I made an extra dollar an hour for working 3rd shift and the stocking is kind of important so it had to get done, which meant essentially unlimited overtime. I frequently worked 10-12 hour days. I was making a good living, especially for a guy working a blue-collar job in his 20s, but the tradeoff is I had literally zero social life.

Switching to nights was easy for me, but switching back is still not really complete. I quit that job over 10 years ago and I'm still much more awake at night than during the day.
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:15 PM
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Throughout my career, I've worked 3rd shift ( 11PM-ish to 7AM-ish...the start/stop times varied ) for about about 12 years, taken cumulatively. The longest stretch about 6 years.

It sucks. It always did, and it always will. As for myself, getting enough sleep was paramount to me. I made it a priority, and so, I was generally quite alert and well rested all night. The "sucked" part is the upheaval and of course deleterious effect on one's social life. The routine that worked best for me was to get home, unwind, get stuff done using the relative cool of the morning, relax a bit ( analogous to evening time for a day-shifter ) and go to bed around noon. I'd wake up at 9PM, have coffee and a light "breakfast", shower, pack a lunch, and head in.

With my insistence on being well rested, I often butted heads with others who just didn't understand; vis-a-vis scheduling get-togethers or dentist appointments and the like. I'd hear some say "Oh you work nights....you have all day to do stuff. That must be great!!". I'd want to belt them with a black jack if I had one. Either you're one of those people who need 8 hours of sleep a day, or you're one of those who thinks 4 or 5 hours is all they or anyone else should need. Never the twain shall meet.

What really sucks is that your "weekend", which more often than not was anything but the actual weekend, really only consisted of one "real" day off. By real, I mean a day you wake up in the morning after a night's sleep and have the night off.

Another hard part is the transition to/from your work schedule to your days off schedule. It's like jet lag every freaking week.

I currently work afternoon ( 3PM-1130PM ) shift, which I love. No alarm clocks and I get up feeling great. Funny thing is when I finally got off mids, all my co-workers told me how much more pleasant I was. I told them thanks, and said I hope I wasn't that much of an SOB when I worked nights. You see, even if well rested, there's still a simmering resentment of the upheaval it causes.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:27 PM
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Absolute worst work schedule I had was in the Navy, and fortunately, I was single. I lived just south of Baltimore and worked in the Pentagon. We had an 8-day cycle:
  • Two 12-hour mids (7P-7A)
  • 24 hours off
  • Two 12 hour days (7A-7P)
  • 96 hours off
I did that for 6 months, and honest to goodness, there were times I don't know how I got home. There was absolutely no reason to schedule us like that - we could easily support either 12-hour shifts or even normal 8 hour shifts. But someone at a higher pay grade decided that's how we should operate. I was so glad when I was reassigned to a normal workday in a different group.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:43 PM
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I work from 11pm to 9am Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, 10 hour shifts. When I get home I stay up puttering around, yard, garden, etc. I go to sleep about 1:30pm and get about 7 hours of sleep. And then I get up and get ready and go to work like a normal person does.

Except on Friday morning. I can’t go to sleep on Friday or I will be still on graveyard cycle and up all night. I have to be back to work at 7:30am on Saturday for another 10 hour day shift. 22 hour turn around. So I stay up until 5 or 6pm on Friday, completely crash for 12 or 13 hours and get up and go to work 7:30am Saturday. Kind of a brutal change of shifts. Then I am off until 11pm Tuesday night again.

The funny thing is that on my days off or vacations I am not a night person and rarely stay up beyond 8pm.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRC4941 View Post
Years ago my husband worked 10pm-6am. He hated it and so did I. Our life revolved around him trying to get sleep. He couldn't fall asleep when he got home in the morning so he'd be up for a couple of hours. Then he'd nap, then get up, then nap.... He couldn't ever get any good solid sleep and was always tired and crabby. On the weekends all he did was nap. I'd have to tiptoe around the house all day. Maybe he would have eventually been able to get his sleep/wake hours straightened out. I'm just glad that's over.
I learned to take medication for that.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:30 AM
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For quite a few years I worked 11pm-7am. My schedule:

11pm-7am: Work.

7am-11pm: Do everything possible to sleep, in spite of living in a noisy Manhattan neighborhood, especially while high-rise apartments were being built across the street. Maybe catch a couple of hours of sleep on a good day. Otherwise, no sleep.

The only exception was the couple of years I lived in Long Beach, L.I., when I'd spend a lot of time on the beach. That was the only time I liked working nights.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:20 AM
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I'm a natural night owl, so the hours have always suited me. It did lead to a diagnosed Vitamin D deficiency as I am not really a fan of direct sunlight - never have been - especially here in Arizona and this don't go out in it a lot.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRC4941 View Post
Years ago my husband worked 10pm-6am. He hated it and so did I. Our life revolved around him trying to get sleep. He couldn't fall asleep when he got home in the morning so he'd be up for a couple of hours. Then he'd nap, then get up, then nap.... He couldn't ever get any good solid sleep and was always tired and crabby. On the weekends all he did was nap. I'd have to tiptoe around the house all day. Maybe he would have eventually been able to get his sleep/wake hours straightened out. I'm just glad that's over.
That was my overnight period in a nutshell except I worked midnight-8AM.

My first crash would be mid afternoon but I couldn't nap longer than a couple of hours. I'd then wake up, have something to eat, try to do something household-ish like dishes or laundry, then attenpt to nap again. It never worked.

I think I averaged maybe 3-4 hours of sleep after each shift. I didn't take any kind of medication to encourage it because they all made me, and still make me, horrendously groggy afterward.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
Absolute worst work schedule I had was in the Navy, and fortunately, I was single. I lived just south of Baltimore and worked in the Pentagon. We had an 8-day cycle:
  • Two 12-hour mids (7P-7A)
  • 24 hours off
  • Two 12 hour days (7A-7P)
  • 96 hours off
I did that for 6 months, and honest to goodness, there were times I don't know how I got home. There was absolutely no reason to schedule us like that - we could easily support either 12-hour shifts or even normal 8 hour shifts. But someone at a higher pay grade decided that's how we should operate. I was so glad when I was reassigned to a normal workday in a different group.
That sounds horrible. What were you doing that needed 24-hour coverage?

I worked in direction-finding stations, sometimes as the part that was pretty much 8 to 4 Monday through Friday* and sometimes as a 'watchstander' working rotating shifts.

They were always what we called 2-2-2-80. Two day watches, eight hours off, two mid watches, eight hours off, two eve watches, eighty hours off. Like your square watches it was 48 hours of working every 8 days, but broken up a lot more evenly. The eight hour 'doublebacks' were a bit of a problem but everyone lived on base (i.e. nearby) so you could grab a bite to eat and some Zs in the eight hours off okay, then eat again when you were on shift.

Uninhabited places where 80 hours off would hang heavy, like Diego Garcia or Adak Alaska, did 1-1-1-56 shifts. I never had those but someone who had said your tour goes by real fast.

*Plus stand 'military watches' -- CQ, fire watches, stuff like that. Something the watchstanders did not have to do.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:27 PM
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I was in the Communications Center (this was in 1980.) We shared the space with the Army and Air Force, both of which did relatively normal 8-hour shifts. On top of that, I was the 3rd Ensign on a 2-Ensign watch, where, really, there was no reason a CPO couldn't have been in charge. Absolutely the worst assignment ever.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:01 AM
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Junior year high school:
5pm-11pm -- fast food. 5 to midnite on weekends

Senior year high school (and freshman college):
4-10pm, 7 days/week. Airport refueling/tug driver in small city. Worked every single night for an entire calendar year (got off early Xmas eve).

Later in college:
2am-6am -- night shift loading trucks
6am-9am -- school bus driver
9am-3pm -- student at community college.
3pm-5pm -- school bus driver
5pm-2am -- attempt sleep

Still later in college:
4am-9am -- early shift unloading trucks
9am-11am -- janitor
11am-- student

After giving up college:
12am-12pm, 7 days/week for 6 months -- Oil rigs, N Sea.
The other 6 months -- part time in a few classes.

After returning to college:
Worked as flight instructor, set my own hours to work around classes. Day shift mostly, but worked most weekends.

After finally completing college (age 28):
Mostly day shifts, M-F -- engineering jobs. First time in my life to have "normal" work schedule. Continued until retirement.

Last edited by pullin; 03-25-2020 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:06 AM
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I had a factory job one summer during college. They had a rotating schedule where you'd work a few weeks on first shift, then rotate to second for a few weeks, then rotate to third, back to first, etc. It was fine for a short term job, and I was young enough that I could easily adapt to the shift changes, but jeez there is no way I could do that as a permanent full time job. Especially with a family. I don't know how people did it.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:39 AM
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I worked 10pm-6am for a bit, at an airport coffee shop. That was bad enough, but the security there were on a 7 day schedule; 6am-6pm for 2 days, 6pm-6am for two days, then 2 days off... If you ever wondered why they were so grumpy.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:26 PM
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I worked graveyard hours for three years: 12 a.m. till whenever most of that time, & then 10 p.m. till whenever for the final few months. I only got out of it when the place I was working at closed and I got transferred to another location doing day shifts.

I liken my viewpoint of working graveyard to the various stages of grief; I originally loved the hours because I had the days to myself, then I became indifferent about them, then I actively disliked them, then I hated them, then I just hated everything about my life because of them. I was always tired and had absolutely no social life, and to this day (roughly seven years later) I maintain a massive, MASSIVE caffeine addiction that I attribute to my three years on graveyard. I wouldn't wish those hours on my worst enemy.

I was still in college throughout the whole period, so, for most of this time, my routine consisted of waking up at 11 p.m., getting in at midnight, working till whenever, then going to class until 2 or 3 so I could get into bed by 4 p.m. When the hours moved up and I started coming in at 10 p.m., the routine was the same except I was usually able to slip in a nap between 4-6 a.m.

Throughout the entire three year period I never felt like I ever got any *real* sleep. For real, screw graveyard shifts.

Last edited by 2ManyTacos; 03-25-2020 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:48 PM
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During my last two years of college, I worked 11 - 7 as a clerk in a hospital. I worked on the maternity ward so it was hit and miss on how busy it would be. But I got to do most of my studying there.

Some days I had morning classes, so I would usually go out to breakfast and then head to school. I'd be up until 2 or 3 and sleep until 10.

Other days I had afternoon classes so I would come home and sleep til noon and then go to school. I'd get stuff done after class and then sleep again from 6 or 7 until 10.

Being on the schedule for weekends was the hardest. There were times I'd be at a party on Saturday night and get talked into calling in sick.

I was studying TV and film production and for the last year there were some days where we were shooting or editing projects and I wouldn't get any sleep at all or maybe nap for a couple hours. By that point, I had trained myself to fall asleep whenever I got the chance. I am very proud, though, that I never once fell asleep at work, unlike many of my co-workers.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:27 PM
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Work 6pm- 4:30am OR 6:30am

Sleep from 6am-2pm (goal, this shifts some). On 4:30 am days I might stop at the store. If I don't, I work on some things at home and might take a melatonin. On 6:30 am days sometimes I get breakfast out and that typically means it's my day off. If I have to work that night I just get home and go to sleep ASAP and I might cut my sleep down to around 8-3.

Ideal (work) day-

wake up 2pm, coffee.
exercise, read, pay bills, etc til around 4pm
Eat something and take vitamins if I'm not intermittent fasting

4:30 shower, get ready
Sometime between 5-5:20 leave for work


I get 3 "days off" but I regularly voluntarily work OT on up to 2 of those days and/or work on my other personal projects and businesses.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:53 PM
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I worked from 6:00pm to 6:00am for 19 years. I loved it. The only reason I don't work at night now is that *sigh* I got moved to a place that doesn't have a night shift. It's been about 5 years now on the day shift & I still really dislike it a great deal.

There are too many people, too many meetings, too much talking. I am supposed to start at 8:00am every day, but I go in at 6:00am just to have some quiet.

If / When I move on to the next job, you can bet that I'm going back to the night shift. A few months ago, I was in an Emergency Room at the hospital (not for me - everyone is fine) at about midnight. It was a dream.

As far as scheduling is concerned, the very best piece of advice I can give is: pick a schedule & stick to it. You can't flip your sleep schedule around constantly. That's the road to madness. You have to stay consistent. Get up at the same time every day; go to bed at the same time every day. It doesn't matter if it is a work day or a day off. They're all the same to your body.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:51 AM
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I worked a 4pm to 2am job for 14 or so years.

I was always a night owl, even before that job. I LIKED those hours. I'm on first shift now and I MISS those hours.

GENERALLY, I'd get up in time to eat, etc, and go to work
Work
Get out and do things in the middle of the night until it was way too late and I'm seeing the sun come up, oh geez, time for bed

But I could be flexable enough to TRY to get to bed early and get up early to do things needed in the daylight. Mowing, doctors appointments, etc BEFORE work. Now that I'm on first I don't know how ANYONE sees a doctor, I have to miss a lot of work to do it

I miss nights so much
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:03 AM
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When I was psych nursing I used to do little stints of night duty each roster. One guy I worked with taught me the trick that made all future night shifts much better - never go straight home. Go out and do something. Go to the beach and have a swim, go to the early opener pub and have a beer with the wharfies, just do something so that you don't feel like you are dragging yourself from work to bed, to work. Makes the day seem longer.

The same principle works on weekends. Always try to do something on Sunday night. It makes the weekend feel twice as long. If you sit at home you are practically already at work.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrickBat View Post
What really sucks is that your "weekend", which more often than not was anything but the actual weekend, really only consisted of one "real" day off. By real, I mean a day you wake up in the morning after a night's sleep and have the night off.

Another hard part is the transition to/from your work schedule to your days off schedule. It's like jet lag every freaking week.
I don't do that and see no reason to. To go along with your comments about being well-rested and needing 8 hours sleep, I do that and also just stay on the same schedule so I don't risk going off schedule when the work week starts back up. The only exception for me is sometimes the first day off I sleep longer later, not on a different schedule. Ex, if I normally sleep 6-2 Sun-Weds, on Th. I might stay up a little later like 8-9 but I won't force myself to wake up at a certain time so I might sleep in well into the evening. I'm not trying to get on a day schedule for one day a week if I can help it. Of course my night schedule is a 10-12 hour warehouse shift that starts earlier than the typical "3rd shift." So it probably makes a difference that i'm waking up in the afternoon and not night.
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