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Night shift survival tips!

(11 Posts)
Lilybensmum1 Tue 18-Aug-15 08:51:34

Hi, I'm looking for magical ideas to help make night shift work easier. I am due to start a new job which will entail working Monday and Tuesday 12 hour nights. I have dd 7 and ds 6.

The things I'm worried about is getting everything done at home before my second night so I can sleep. I will be lucky to squeeze in 4 hours sleep as it is due to school runs etc.

I guess I'm asking if anyone who works nights has magical short cuts so the house does not become a tip, the kids get a half decent meal, homework gets done etc and I still make it too work without being half dead.

I'm dreading the second night as I don't know how I will function if I don't sleep well, so any sleep tips great fully received.

I'm having second thoughts on the job but, this way I get to do the school runs, don't need to pay childcare costs and have weekends off, so I'm guessing the sacrifice will be worth it, plus my new boss's has been amazing whilst I have dithered over shift patterns. I feel guilty working when my children are at home.

Any advice very greatfully received smile.

GRW Tue 18-Aug-15 10:00:13

As a nurse I know lots of Mums who do nights because it fits in around children, and allows for school runs. In my experience you never get the same length or quality of sleep as during the day, but you do survive. Caffeinated drinks help me to get through the night, and depending on how busy you are it goes quickly. I always need a couple of hours in bed after my last night. I don't know how people stay awake all day to look after children. In the school holidays you would obviously need child care during the day.

Lilybensmum1 Tue 18-Aug-15 10:00:24

Anyone? Am I the only person who works nights? sad.

NCISaddict Tue 18-Aug-15 10:22:11

I work a lot of nights but don't have small children so it is easier. The house is not brilliantly tidy when I'm on a run of nights but if anyone dared to complain they would get pointed in the direction of the hoover!
I never get any sleep the day before but do try and have a lazy day then I average 4 hours of sleep per day and never plan anything for the day after I finish nights.
Try to eat sensibly, easily digested stuff is best I find. You will be shattered but don't beat yourself up over an untidy house and take any offers of help like picking up children from school and get your partner to step up and do more.
Good luck, I'm off on nights tonight and will live on coffee. smile

GrinAndTonic Tue 18-Aug-15 10:40:58

You can get away with not sleeping before the first night but you'll need to sleep before the second.
Ignore the housework on both days. Plan and freeze meals so you don't have to cook. I used to clean etc straight after my second night then shower and hop into a nice clean bed for a few hours sleep.
Train the DC's that noise during your nap time is forbidden (if they are old enough). My mum shift worked my entire childhood and managed the two of us (both under 8) alone. We learned to make no noise after school so mum could get another hour or two sleep.
As for the shift, well stay away from carbs at night, eat protein and caffeine is your friend. A mars bar and red bull at 3am is a winner!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 18-Aug-15 12:11:45

I try not to eat, studies have shown that you use fewer of the calories so are more likely to put on weight. Frozen meals, no house work on those days. I do some nights every single week so after 17 years am in a pattern.

Lilybensmum1 Tue 18-Aug-15 12:15:22

Thanks everyone, glad to know I'm not alone. grin hats off to your mum that must have been tough! Will try some of the suggestions and see what works.

MyHeartsPumpingWine Tue 18-Aug-15 12:23:38

I've worked shifts including nights for 11years.
I do hoovering and get the washing up to date on the day of the first shift then just do light tidying as required.
i try not to drink after 0400 otherwise I'm up to the loo a lot when I should be sleeping.
For sleep I wear earplugs and have blackout blinds and curtains, I get about 5hrs sleep but can function ok on it.
2 nightshifts will be easier to function on less sleep.
Good luck, fingers crossed you manage to find a routine to suit you.

Lilybensmum1 Tue 18-Aug-15 13:50:09

Thanks myheart that's reassuring to know that nights will be easier that's what I was hoping to hear. Will look for some earplugs.

Babyroobs Tue 18-Aug-15 20:59:31

I would pay for childcare or after school club on the tuesday so that you can get a decent days sleep.

LintRoller Tue 18-Aug-15 21:19:33

If it's just 2 night shifts a week you'll be fine. When I started my job I used to do a run of 7 12-hour night shifts in a row grin (not legal any more btw)

Absolutely prioritise sleep after the night shift. It's so easy to waste time pottering around, doing housework, MNing, getting sucked into a bad TV programme... Just drop off kids, get into bed, sleep. Turn off phone. If you can't turn it off, set it to only ring for important numbers e.g. the school.

Plan well the weekend before, freeze meals, have laundry done etc.

The suggestion for after-school club on Tuesdays is a good one.

It will be ok smile

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