Friday, July 23, 2010

Woe is the Shift Worker

That's right. Woe is me. Please proceed through this post with caution. Heavy whining ahead.

I'm a shift worker. I know. Big deal, right? I hear your voices. "We all have to pull our weight around here, Missy. Suck it up." Whatever.

I don't normally complain or try to gain sympathy over the fact I work 12 hour shifts, rotating between days and nights. I CHOSE this line of work after all. 6:00 to 6:00, people. Work 4 days. Have a day off. Work 3 nights. Have 3 days off. Which is really like 2-1/2 days off because I'm actually working midnight until 6:00 a.m. on my scheduled "day off" and then sleeping until the middle of the day. But I digress.
And did you actually follow that anyway? I've been a shift worker for over 7 years and my husband is just finally getting a handle on my 6 week rotation. I just gave you a preview of the first 2 weeks. I don't expect you to get it in one post.

One long-winded, whining post.

Shift workers have all kinds of tricks that they use to make sleeping during the day easier.
  • Blackout curtains of some kind are almost a necessity whether it be in the form of some expensive hotel-like blackout curtains or a sleeping bag nailed over the window. Whatever works. We aren't picky. My husband suggested lining the window with tin foil then putting up the blinds/curtains. I declined because I didn't want the neighbors thinking I'm running a crack lab here. I already come and go at strange hours of the day/night. Notneed to up the suspicion radar.
  • White noise: There are many options here. A fan, special radio-type devices that play different sounds, TV on low, etc. Just a note here....barking dogs, ringing doorbells and garbage trucks do not fit in the category of white noise. They fit in to the category of "somebody better stop that right now before they die" category. Remember this.
  • Sleep aids: The majority of the shift workers I know personally who take any sleep aid take a natural supplement called Melatonin. Sometimes when desperate to just get some extra shut-eye popping a Tylenol PM will do the trick.
"Riveting, Cheri. Who cares?" I told you all of that to tell you this. I've been on night shifts the last few days. Well, nights. Whatever. And my attempt at sleep was thwarted. The house next door is getting a new roof. Not just some new shingles. A whole. New. Roof.

Let me paint this picture a little better for you. My bedroom is on the second story. On the same side of the house as the neighbor getting a new roof. The roof of a single story home. It would be easy to invite the roofers through the window for a nice cold drink. Sweet.

Background TV noise. Check. Nice dark room. Check. Sleep? Can't quite check that off my list. Skill saws, nail guns, yelling. Putting on a new roof is noisy, people.

So after the first day (and approximately 3 hours of sleep before I worked my night shift) I decided I would go sleep in the bedroom on the other side of the house. I fell asleep quickly. Only to be awakened by a large DOG barking at the house on the OTHER side of us 2 hours later....non stop....and I could hear the skill saws, nail guns and yelling from the roofers, albeit slightly muffled from the previous day. But when you are just completely annoyed and sleep deprived you can hear water dripping in the kitchen sink downstairs. The sense of hearing becomes like a freakin' radar and NOTHING is missed. It's like my ear turned in to a Venus Fly Trap for noise. It makes me cranky, people. Very cranky. My co-workers love me when I haven't slept.

The roofers stopped working at 1:30. So I went back to my own bedroom and got a couple more hours of sleep. Before my night shift. Of 12 hours. At night.

I've got 2 days off now. Guess what I'll be...... zzzzzzzzzzzzz......... zzzzzzzzzzz........... zzzzzzzzzz


  1. I feel for you. My husband is also on a rotating shift. Black-out curtains, two fans on high and ear plugs. And DON'T LET THE DOG BARK.EVER. Enjoy your sleep.

  2. Oh, i hated working night shifts. It was always so hard for me to adjust. Rotating shifts must be hell.

    Hope you're able to sleep soon.

  3. I feel for you, Cheri...Oh how I hate working night shifts.
    Take a good rest and sleep well!
    B xx

  4. ahhh Melatonin...that's some good stuff! Sleep well.

  5. Being hearing impaired was a blessing when I worked nights.

  6. can't imagine. My stress is that damn inbox LOL Nighty night Cheri and sleep dreams

  7. I feel for you. I did a 3-month shift of working midnight to 8am. It was horrible. I never got the hang of it.

  8. Tin foil? Really Troy? Tin foil????? Are you trying to burn the retina's of your neighbors? Are you going to be the crazy lady waiting for aliens that we hear about on the news?
    Tin foil?


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