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Member Comments for the Article:

How to Work the Third Shift and Stay Healthy

Tips on Sleep, Nutrition and At-Work Activities

63 Comments







ANGELISSIAJ

1/28/2009 3:29:11 AM

ANGELISSIAJ's SparkPage
I too work the graveyard shift, 9-7 for 3 years, however, I have recently had trouble being consistant with my workout routine. I use to live 5 mins away from a gym which was open 24 hours and on my days off I would wake up and hit the gym with no problem giving me at least 3 days a week to get some good workouts in. Over the last year, I had my days that I go into work at night, broken up randomly by various apointments during the day required by my job for me to attend. There are often times when I work a 10 hour shift and have to stay up an additon 5 to 8 hours after to attend, which is generally court appearences as I am a police officer, or staying after work for a call which last longer than my shift to take care of. This has really begun to wreck havoc on my sleep paterns. Some days I wake up 3 to 4 times during the day just because and other times, I crash for the whole day. I no longer live near a gym which is open 24 hours, which makes it even tougher to exercise on my days off if I cannot make it to the rec center near my house before they close. My biggest problem is getting to sleep right away when I get home because it takes a while for me to wind down ( equivilant to a 9 to 5ers evening). I would love to find advise on how to best change my hours so that I can get my body acustom to going to bed right away so that I can get up and work out before work. Since everything is so wacky with my sleep patterns, it's also affected my energy levels to even get a decent workout in when I do hit the gym. As a result of not being consistant with my workouts, I've gained back 18 pounds. I can still do my usual 45 mins of cardio and lift the weights WHEN i do get to the gym, but it's so random that I feel I'm not as in good of shape as I once was. Any advise would be helpful.

TKTHECORR

1/24/2009 8:02:50 AM

TKTHECORR's SparkPage
I also work third shift from 10pm to 6am. I am totally confused on when to eat and when to work out. Currently I sleep from 7:00am to about 2-3:00 pm. I will then go to the gym and work out for :45 to 1:00 on the treadmill or bike. I then eat a pretty big meal at 6:00pm then I will nap from 7:30pm to 8:45. At work I try to eat a light meal at 12:30 am and a light snack before 3:30am. This seems to be working for me.

TPERKINS123

1/4/2009 8:43:32 AM

TPERKINS123's SparkPage
Like a lot who posted here I work at a hospital as a switchboard operator also sunday to thursday from 11p-7am. I have been doing this for 4 years now and it has been a struggle to contain my eating. My problem is I am not sure how I should eat my meals. My day is normally pretty much the same starting on sunday......I start my day by getting my kids ready for the week doing things such as ironing clothes, packing lunches, and cooking dinner. I usually try to go back to sleep by 8pm and I sleep until 10pm. I then take my kids to my parents house to be back out the house by 1030pm at the latest. I get to work and I usually have a 16oz cup of coffee with 3 equals and some cream......but i have cut out coffee so I am now drinking tea instead. My problems comes once i am at work I usually get the snacking bug around 1-2am then I just want to eat any and everything around. Any suggestion would be very helpful should I try to eat every 2-3 hours or 3-4 hours.....Help me.....I have all ready changed the things that I am eating now I just need help as to when is the best time to eat.

LADYBREN1

11/10/2008 1:50:22 AM

LADYBREN1's SparkPage
I also work as a switchboard operator at night(10-6)I try to eat around 2 or 3,side salad with strips of chicken breast,1piece of fruit,a cup of herbal tea and of course 1 glass of water.Before,I get off I either do a small bowl of oatmeal or a cup of lowfat yogurt with a handful of almonds.Mondays and Wednesdays are my class days 9am to 12n,then I sleep from 12:30 to 6,light dinner,tuna on wheat,then back to bed til 8:45.I do get up and move around my little work area.Dancing,side kicks,and marching in place.On Tuesdays,Thursdays and Fridays,I go to an afternoon Curves class to help me in reducing the spare tire around my midsection.(smile)

LADYBREN1

11/10/2008 1:30:30 AM

LADYBREN1's SparkPage
These tips are good.I retired 8 years ago and started a new job last year at night.Starting on my journey to a healthy lifestyle in March and had difficulty in adjusting to when to eat at night and how much sleep during the day.I recently added a class during the day only 2 days a week.I will keep these tips to help me adjust.

SUNNYARIZONA

11/2/2008 11:45:50 PM

SUNNYARIZONA's SparkPage
I am a DAY person, that happens to work the NIGHT SHIFT. I have spoken with fellow workers, who mostly cannot get enough sleep during the day, and work sleep deprived all the time. I could NEVER work with out a decent amount of sleep.

Me, I have my rituals....I always have breakfast when I get home, and don't usually retire for about 2-3 hours after eating. I take 2 calcium tabs, and 1 magesium, also take valarian root for sleep, sometimes I will take a benadryl instead. When I sleep at night I take melatonin too, but not during the day.

THEN, I have my sleep mask, Can't tolerate the windows being darkened, as my brain keeps waking me, and wondering what time it is... so the mask works best. I do NOT usually use ear plugs, unless the dog next door is out and barking.

I get 6-7 hours of sleep before I work the next night.

NYCCI1999

7/19/2008 11:10:34 PM

NYCCI1999's SparkPage
I work at a hospital that I work a 60-72 hour shift. I don't leave the hospital. I am often woke up every two hours. I have learned to control the eating during the night by drinking water but during the day is my downfall. The days I have had a broken up 3-4 hours of sleep and still have 20 hours to go....I EAT!! I often don't have time to eat a meal. I eat a fair amount of fruit because it is handy but I am more than lacking in the veggie department. I would love to have some eating advice as to high protein choices(not high carbs, that's what I choose) that are easy to eat on the run. Anyone have some suggestions?

S_KARLEEN

6/13/2008 8:43:32 AM

S_KARLEEN's SparkPage
im a casual nurse and ive managed to loose over 20lbs by not snacking. I eat my meals with protien and veggies and 2 pieces of fruit a day whenever i want them for an meal and eat each meal 5-7 hours apart, seeing as im never able to eat at a normal time anyways. My fave ngiht shift meal that keeps me going is 75g of light cheddar a whole sliced red or green pepper and 5 or 6 rye crackers (finn crisps are my fave!) and its not so heavy that you are stuffed. that being said it was hard to break the snaking to stay awake habit but if u dont reach for snacks your insulin levels arnt peaking and dropping causing you to crash...try it at least 2 weeks to decide if it will work...was sceptical myself at first... but now i have more energy than ever!

CJ_SKINNY_JEANS

5/22/2008 1:44:10 AM

CJ_SKINNY_JEANS's SparkPage
I work 7-7...7 days and 7 nights in a 4 week period. Sometimes I don't even know what day it is or if it's morning or night. Most of the time when I'm on nights I get 4-5 hours of sleep and by the 3rd or 4th night, I'm so tired that I don't have the energy to worry about what I'm eating or to exercise. I would really like to see more information that could help those of us "lucky" enough to work swing shift. =)

MISSAROSA1

4/28/2008 7:31:08 PM

MISSAROSA1's SparkPage
My issue is altogether different. I work a swing shift where every day and every week my schedule is different. I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep because I have to be at work at different hours each day! I enjoyed this article because even though it doesn't exactly speak to my problem, it addresses a growing problem with lots of people.

DREAVER

4/20/2008 2:37:03 PM

MOMMATAURUS I can relate all to well. I work 11pm to 7am sometimes 7 to 7 or 11 to 11
Three to four days a week I have my grandchildren. I get them around 3pm and take them home on my way to work. When I get home in the mornings I make my husband breakfast and try to get our dinner started. A lot of crock pot meals. He also works third shift. So I am lucky to get 3 to 4 hours of sleep a day. I do find it hard to figure out my eating schedule since I am up almost 20 hours a day. And since I have started this shift 7 years ago I have gained at least 60 lbs. and am having a very hard time working with a diet. If anyone has any ideas on a good eating plan please let me know. Thanks

WANDAJ6

1/16/2008 1:30:21 AM

I work 12 hour shifts 7Pm-&am and sleep sometimes becomes a luxury

KARREYANNE

1/11/2008 11:12:11 PM

Finally an article I can relate too. I am a nurse and have worked the night shift for 4 years. I still havent been able to get a schdule down. I hoping to implement some of these tips and see what I can do to make things better. I hope to see more of these articles in the near future. Great information!

ICECOACH57

1/11/2008 11:47:08 AM

ICECOACH57's SparkPage
I also work nights as a Switchboard Operator at a Hospital. I do 2 day shifts from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, then 2 night shifts from 6:30 pm until 6:30 am, then I am off for 4 days. I really like the idea of being off during the week.

When I work nights I always sleep during my lunch. Any suggestions at what time would be the latest for me to eat? When I wake up I always eat a very light supper.

Thanks for the articles it was great to see that someone does listen

MOMMATAURUS

1/11/2008 5:04:18 AM

I am a mom of 3 and sleeping during the day is literally impossible. I have my 4 year old home. My 7 and 8 year old get off the bus at 4pm. I typically sleep from noon to 2pm when the 4 year old naps. Get up, get kids, help with homework, clean house, make supper, then I hop back in bed around 7pm and I sleep until 9:30 when its time to get ready for work. I am out o the house by 10pm to commute to work by 11pm. I have been doing this sleep pattern for 2.5 years. I am losing my hair, I am tired all the time. I can only hope when my 4 year old enters kindergarten that I can finally sleep! That's not for another 2 years! ARG!

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