So Thursday night I got home from work around 9pm. I put on Lost and laid down to watch it…next thing I know it’s 7am, and I wake up (still in my work clothes). It’s weird because I wasn’t even behind on sleep, and had no good reason to be so tired already (I usually go to sleep between 12-1AM). I had work at 3:30PM on Friday, so I had plenty of time to kill beforehand, and I was even thinking in the back of my head how getting up this early was not going to help me at work at all. So the job hits some snags and I actually don’t clock out until 2:30AM. Part of the reason that it took so long to complete is because sleep deprivation started kicking in around 11PM and mistakes were being made, which took a while to undo. I get back home around 3:30AM…knowing that I’m due on another site at 7:30AM this morning, and will be expected to be there until at least 3PM (almost 24 hours before I clocked in on job 1!). So I make up my mind that this is gonna have to be an all nighter, cuz I know if I tried to get 3 hours of sleep in my down time, I was either going to sleep through the loudest alarm clock on earth, or I was going to feel even worse off than before I layed down. So instead I take a hot bath, eat a bagel, do some light reading and now am doing some doping and catching up on TV before I have to head back out in an hour or so. So by the time I get home from work this afternoon, I would have been up for 33 hours. I predict a very long sleep the moment I get home, and then waking up at 2AM, feeling confused and bored. Thank god I have all of Sunday off, and won’t be needed until 6PM on Monday.
Now, to make this more than just a story - here’s a question. If you got off work at 2:30AM and knew you were due at another job at 7:30AM, what would you do with the time?
On Tuesday I woke up at 5:30 AM and didn’t go back to sleep until 10 AM the next day, so that was about 29 hours of being awake. I do that almost every week due to my shitty graveyard job and my refusal to acknowledge I’m awake all night.
I can sleep almost anywhere and any time, so if it were me I’d sleep during the down time.
This is something I can’t do any more, but when I was twenty, I was pulling a full course load at junior college, working a forty hours per week graveyard shift as a security guard at a mobile home park, singing in the men’s chorus (and mixed chorus) at Loyola Marymount University, and singing in two choirs at church.
IIRC, I didn’t work Tuesday night. But my Wednesdays were pretty horrific. Class from nine to three. Drive to Loyola by four-thirty p.m. Rehearse until six. Drive into Redondo Beach for choir practice from eight to ten p.m. (grab a bite to eat on the way). Go out for coffee and dessert; shoot the bull until around eleven. Drive to San Pedro by midnight. Stand watch from midnight to eight a.m. Drive home to Torrance, shower and dress for class, which started at ten on Thursdays. I became pretty adept at grabbing a few winks outside the Green Room where we had our theatre class.
As I said above, I can’t do that any more. If I had a commitment five hours from now and could not rely on the alarm clock to wake me, I’d go to sleep and instruct my wife and/or daughter to get me up in three and a half hours.
4:14PM, 34 hours up. Home from work. And I actually don’t really feel like sleeping. I feel like eating some cap’n crunch and watching TV. I think I’m just gonna hold out until 8pm or so, so at least when I fall asleep, I’ll wake up at a reasonable hour.
I think my longest was 3 nights without sleep…it wasn’t drug free. I found that after the second night of no sleep (this happened on several occasions in college) I started hallucinating. I’d get colorful squiggles in my peripheral vision.
When I first started working the graveyard shift and trying to find some kind of sleep schedule, I’d frequently see bugs darting away in my peripheral vision. For months I did that. It still happens sometimes.