Tips from Shift Workers

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Matt B.: Police officerMatt B 

 

What is your shift schedule?

I work 9pm until 6am with rotating days off every week.

What is your biggest challenge about working shifts?

The biggest challenge about this shift is finding a regular sleep schedule. Some days I go to bed right when I get off work and other days I have to stay up until the afternoon. It's never the same. Some days I have work obligations that start at 9am and some days I have to take my five year old son to school in the morning. I am well aware that I'm functioning on minimal sleep most of the time and I use one of my two days off catching up on sleep.

What helps me…

What helps me is keeping in mind the benefit of this schedule: the fact that I don’t miss any social events or any of my kid’s events. Most of the people I work with choose this shift strictly because it allows you to spend more time with your friends and family and that helps in dealing with the overall stress of the job.  

 

Eric D.: Fire lieutenantEric D

 

What is your shift schedule?

My shift is 24 hours on, and then 48 hours off.  

What is your biggest challenge about working shifts?

The biggest challenge for me is trying to function normally the next day. There are shift days when I get maybe three hours of sleep total, followed by strenuous and highly stressful calls on shift. This leads to odd sleep times the following days when I’m off. 

What helps me…

What I try to do is nap during the day at work. I also sleep in increments—for example when I get home, I'll sleep until noon and then try to fall asleep again around 11pm. I’ve also started drinking a nighttime (non-caffeinated) tea that aids in my sleep—it seems to help sometimes.

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