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Additional Details
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colette pippa d
Help! My new job entails a week of nights...?
I am worried about working nights, and would like your advice on how to cope. I start the shifts tonight 7pm - 7am then 9pm - 7am right through till friday. I am dreading it!!! Will I start to look old will it effect my appearance, how can I stop it playing havoc with my body clock??
All advice gratefully received. Thanks in advance Colette :O)

why did u go for a interview etc for this job if u knew it was going to be nights is my answer. duh

I worked for 15 years on nights as a nurse, it gets easier, you may find the first month hard, are you doing it in rotation? ie. 3 weeks days 1 week nights? The secret is this, no matter how hungry you are when you get home in the morning don't be tempted to eat a big meal, my GP once suggested that I had a cereal bowl of fresh fruit, as it is quite light or just have a couple of pieces of toast no coffee! Have decent curtains that keep the bedroom dark
When you are on duty you may get a sugar rush at around 3-4am, have an apple or something like that, I am a chocoholic unfortunately so didn't heed my own advice and now that I am not on nights anymore I am trying to lose the weight I put on!!! but remember mine were permanent nights, 5 nights a week (most weeks) all through the year! so you won't get into such bad habits!
Enjoy your job & good luck

I am 83 fit and healthy and just this morning my wife told me how young I looked. According to her my body looked 45-50 and muscular and my face about 60. She is the same age and I have no outstanding jobs to do.
I worked two years continuous nights on piecework. 13 hour shifts six days a week and Sunday I shovelled 12 ton of coal from the ground into a truck for loading into a coal hopper for 8 hours.
I had five shillings left after I paid my landlady.
When I met her I started 2 weeks on and 2 off night work when I did my Home Guard duties three times each fortnight.
In between air raids I mended shoes.
Called up for the army where I had three meals a day for the first time in years I put on a stone 14lbs by the time I was demobbed I weighed 10 stone.
By now I was 23 years.
Drinking makes you look old as does smoking which I gave up in 1970.
Does this help?

i work nights and as long as you have plenty of sleep in the day and have a good meal before you go to work then you will be fine...

I work nights at first I found it very difficult, at first it took me a few hours to get to sleep when I got home and at around 4am I was starving so I would start eating all kinds however you do get used to it and you do adapt to the hours. That seems a bit much though five nights.Is that every week or do you have a good rest period in between such as four days off. I dont know if I am beginning to look old I sometimes feel it. You will get into a routine. I personally prefer them to days because you dont see the managers so therefore theres no hassle.

Difficult one. Don't worry about appearence. Enjoy your job, keep fit and eat/drink healthy. Feeling energetic will keep you young! If worst comes for worst, you can always give up your job later. So you have nothing to lose. Good luck.

Hasan, London, UK

Warlock Fiend
I finished work at 11.25pm last night and I start again at 04.30am tomorrow. It does bugga the clock up a bit but you do get used to it. If you feel really tired while at work see if you can get a 20min nap or something during your break. It really helps. I used to have to do a night shift occasionally and I couldnt decide whether it was best to sleep immediately after finishing work or wait a while and sleep so that you wake up just before you have to go to work. I know it sounds odd but you may find you have to experiment to see which suits you best. Good luck in your new job anyway.

The Mechanic
Having done three shift system for four years some time ago , im afraid you never quite get used to them . my advice is do not reverse your life by having meals at midway through the night ,that's the thing that most upsets your system eat light just before and afterwards sleep directly you return home even at odd hours always rest just before shifts , do not go on the razzle just before shift . and no you don't get to be Methuselah overnight

In the beginning body resists such changes.
Do not eat anything except tea during the whole night. If you feel acidity take milk instead of tea. If lucky enough use cocoanut water.Come home eat full stomach and go to bed. Slowly your body will accept this change.

I worked 3rd shift at one of my jobs before and i couldn't take it. I worked there for about a month and had to quit to find a 1st shift job. There are only certain types of people that can do it. I didn't like it because When I was awake, everyone else was sleeping and when I was sleeping everyone else was awake. If you are going to do it, you have to hang out with people that also work 3rd shift so you have someone to hang out with on your days off.

I work nights on a rota. I like nights it doesn't age you and you get the bed to yourself during the day If you find it hard to sleep go to the chemist and get the herbal calms that relax you but if you have a busy night you will sleep with exhaustion

Nights are really not good for you, especially in a shift pattern mixed with days. I've read that your body clock can only shift comfortably by 1 hour per day, so don't expect too much of yourself in your week of nights. Try to avoid other stresses as much as you can, because you're going to be irritable at first.

One key thing I remember is to avoid spicy foods, because your digestion will be all over the place in any case - and the really bad news is, alcohol's not great either. As others have said, eat plenty of healthy food - fruit is great - and most importantly stay well hydrated. Don't drink caffeine in the last 4 hours of your shift (if you can manage this - you might need it for the first day or two to stay awake!)

Good luck, I hope that despite the shift pattern you enjoy your job.

I think that the best thing to do is make sure that you do get the sleep, when not getting the sleep that does play havoc with your body.

I suggest after the first night to come home and unwind a bit and then take some Tylenol PM, make sure that the room is dark (throw blankets or whatever up), I have never been able to wear those mask, run a fan to help mask any outside sounds as it is noisier in the daytime.

I did not like nights and am a natural morning person, there are some individuals that adapt better to nights but those are my tips if you do not believe you are one of them. Also make sure that you eat well and moderately.

Good Luck

zee zee
get lots of sleep....before you start...take naps often.....baby yourself and get more sleep.....and if you eat at work..don't eat at home....and visa versa. You will be OK.

I used to work alot of night, and i hated it, it seemed like i was waiting to go to work all day, and i just couldn't get anything done. None of my children like working nights either!

Hayley-May V
Hello, I think you should try to get some sleep now before you go off to work. On your break in work have a quick kip, this should help you a great deal. It helped me when I had to do night-shifts, eat loads of high Energy foods in the first few shifts just to give you a boost and make you feel better. Try not to worry how you'll cope and that should make you feel less stressed about the whole ordeal, atleast when you've completed them you'll know if its for you or not, good luck I hope it goes well. Hayley-May

Hi Colette, thanks for the advice, i am just unsure what to do- u hear that many horror stories about this sort of thing- he texts and phones me everyday, i have actually bin to see him twice where he works seasonally but he has asked me to go to his home in istanbul which is a bit different isnt it?

I had to do the same a few years ago and dreaded it as well. Best I could do was to drink a lot water (to stop looking old), ate carbohydrates when I woke up and had Chamomile tea before going to bed. Don't eat "dinner" before going to work just because that's when you're used to eating that meal. It will slow you down. The quicker you can get your mind to think it's 7am instead of 7pm, the better. When you look at the clock and it says 4:15, just think of it as 4:15pm, not am. It's more in the mind than the body I found. Whatever you do, don't take sleeping pills thinking that they'll help you get adjusted. They have just the opposite effect.

working nights will play havoc with your body clock, there is no way around it. The best advice would be to try and treat each night as you would a day, sleep as best you can (and that will not be easy) and you shouldn't really eat large meals at midnight - you will get indigestion!
you will also become accustomed to sleep deprivation, not knowing what day of the week it is and forgetfulness!
enjoy your night shifts, remember you're not alone, our next night shifts are Friday, Saturday and Sunday !

anne f
To begin with you will probably not sleep as good until your body is used to the changes. It will only be a couple of days then it will kick in for you and you will sleep like a baby. I too used to work those hours and enjoyed it more than the day job. Good luck. You will be fine.

you simply get used to it like all us other night workers. It won't age you. Just see it as turning your days into nights & vice versa. Your body clock will never get used to it. Its not natural but you will cope. Have a vodka when ya get in on a morning. I do & it works a treat for a good days sleep. Oh & put a sign on ya front door so people know not to knock & wake you. Oh & ear plugs.

as long as you get enough sleep during the day it shouldnt affect your body. you wont look older...at first it will be hard but after about a week your body gets used to it. i suggest dark curtains and turn off the phone. keep yourself on a schedule so you dont sleep ALL day and still have time to do normal things

It'll take a couple of days for you to adjust, you will be knackered!...
...But don't worry like all shift workers, you will have to sleep during the day.
... And that's when the nasty side comes out, because you're bloody neighbours' got his music too loud!!!!

Hi Colette, I used to work "swing shifts" and I think the worst part of working these shifts is the "dreading" that comes before working night shifts. I can tell you from experience that different people have different experiences and you won't know how you cope with working nights until you actually work nights. I think the hardest part of working nights is knowing when you should eat and sleep. In my experience, I was never hungry when I worked at night but then when I would be sleeping during the day I would wake up from hunger pangs. So, you need to force yourself to eat at night, especially if you are not hungry so you will not wake up when you are sleeping. Some people sleep a solid 8 hours when they get home from work. Other people will "split" their sleep by sleeping for 3-4 hours when they get home and 3-4 hours later in the day. My personal opinion is that you will feel more rested if you sleep a solid 7-8 hours.

I still work with many people that work nights and in my opinion, they do not look older than their age and have not had many problems. These people were able to get used to it and their bodies adjusted nicely. Most say they would never go back to working days.

I think the key to working nights is to keep your body happy. Eat well, get rest when you need it and above all....get exercise! When I started working nights, I couldn't sleep at all for the first week and felt constantly tired. Then, I joined a local gym and would go to an exercise class after my 12 hour night shift. That one hour would tire me out physically and mentally so after I went home, showered and had a bite to eat I was ready for sleep.

I was able to work nights for about 2 years until I developed severe migraine headaches. My body was not able to make the adjustment to nights in the long haul so I had to go back to days. My doctor told me that some people can do it and others can't and you really can't predict which type you will be. However, if you start to get chronically ill, see a doctor and then make your decision of whether you can stick with it. If your body can't do it, don't be hard on yourself. Good luck to you!!

Working nights is hard. It does play havoc with your body clock and none of us look our best at 4 in the morning. However, there is nothing like heading home to your bed, just as the rest of the world are heading off to work. It makes you feel all smug and superior. 12 hour night shifts are particularly hard. I don't know what your job is, but remember to pace yourself or you will run out of steam in the early hours of the morning and could become clumsy and accident prone.

i used work nights and loved them.. time used to go faster, and i always slept better, but there's 1 thing you have to remember. you never have to get up for work in the morning

get plenty of sleep in the day and eat properly you will be fine

hakuna matata
As long as you can sleep properly during the day it should not affect you. Although you might find it strange for the first few weeks it will soon be like a normal routine. If you find it difficult to sleep during the day you might have to find another job that will suit you better. Hope it works out for you.

I worked nights for 15 yearsand people still say i don't look my age...i think your body suffers more if you work rotational shifts.
Eat healthily and make sure you get enough sleep..there is a tendancy to sleep for less hours when you work nights..i must admit that it plays havoc with the social life, you seem to do nothing but work ,eat and sleep...when you work day shift at least you have evenings but on nights you come home,go to bed, get up, eat and prepare to go back to work...i think this is why people tend to skimp on their sleep hours because they feel they are missing out. It didn't worry me much ...i'm not much of a social animal. Hope things work out ok for you....

I used to work nights and it did nothing to my apperance,,,have to sleep during the day thought,

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