Need some ideas on how to start working a graveyard shift please...


11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
The Wilds of Western PA
I'll second the nap before your shift. I always layed down for an hour at least before I got ready for my midnight.

I used black contact paper on my bedroom windows, you know the sticky kind? It peels off real nice when you don't need it anymore.

Good luck with graveyard. Being a nurse, it's the only shift I'll work. Day shift and evenings have too many bosses running around. Let me sit and do my paperwork, I'm a happy gal.

Good luck. With only 2 months, about the time you're getting into the swing of things, you'll be ready to go back to your normal sleep patterns.


Flock Mistress
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Sep 6, 2007
Corydon, Indiana
The worst problem I find is that non night shift people think that your sleep during the day is OPTIONAL. It is not.
My father needed a pass printed off my computer, and it HAD to be a 1:00. I said I was sleeping, so he asked if two oclock was good. I said no, three. (What if I called you needing something off your computer and wanted to come over at 1 or 3 am?
My mother calls me three times. When I get up, she wants to know where I've been. I said sleeping. (sleeping days for only 4 years).
Easter: I am working Easter night at 7p-7a. My dad wants to know if I can come for dinner. I say I need to sleep before work. He says can't I get up early. I say "if you had to get up at 5 am for work, and I asked you if you could get up at 3am so you could have breakfast with me, how would you feel?
One of the people I work with tells me her husband wakes her up all day asking where things are, etc. Nobody gets it.


I gots Duckies!
12 Years
May 7, 2007
Sterling, Alaska
1. ear plugs for sleeping
2. unplug or turn the ringer off of every phone in the house
3. threaten every member of the household with severe physical harm if they wake you (this can also include the post man and neighbors)

I hate working night shifts, everyone acts like its no big deal if they wake you up during the day, but then they throw a hissy fit if you wake them up at night while getting ready for work.


12 Years
Mar 25, 2007
Yes, what everyone else said about not letting people wake you up. I always sleep with a nightlight, so the light thing never bothered me much, but people waking me up was misery. Neighbors who need to edge their lawns, whack weeds and let their kids run all over Heck's Half-Acre, screaming like banshees. All. Day. Long. Earplugs are good, earplugs are your friends.

My advice is actually to sleep when you feel sleepy. That may sound dumb, but I worked second shift in high school, after high school, and then again for about 2 1/2 years before going back to first shift last Sept., and trust me, you just need to sleep when you are tired. If that means you sleep in two long naps with a break in between, crash into bed as soon as you get home (sometimes necessary after a particularly bad day), or stay up for a few hours before heading to bed, then do that. Your brain will figure out how to adjust after a while, if you let it--your brain is smarter than your conscious thought and can figure out a schedule change on your behalf, if you allow it to. There's no law that says you have to get all your sleep in one long night, and lots of other cultures and Americans in other time periods (before the alarm clock was invented) did not sleep in one long night without waking up. Do what feels best until you get used to the schedule change.

Swing shifts are especially miserable: my brother did them for 20 years to pay for his kids' college education, but it was a misery to him. The changing schedule means that you never, never get settled into a sleep pattern and are constantly fatigued. He swore by daily exercise and rode his bicycle to and from work to make sure that when he got home, at whatever time that happened to be, he was well and truly exhausted. But if you are just working a regular late night shift, and no other shifts, your brain eventually will adjust on its own.

equine chick

12 Years
Feb 9, 2007
Volant Pa Lawrence County
I worked night shift for 9 years as a nurse. The key is to keep yourself busy at work, try not to slow down. OF course you need to take a break or two but don't take a nap, don't eat anything in carbs such as chips and especially sugar. Eat protein, like a hardboiled egg, cheese or meat. If you do eat sugar, 30 min later you will be dragging your sorry butt around. Some nurses have told me that kept the same schedule on their days off, but my kids were little and I wanted to spend time with them. When I know I'm going to be off for a couple of days, I would sleep til noon and go to bed with everyone else like at 11pm.


In the Brooder
12 Years
Jan 15, 2008
West Tennessee
As far as eating protein goes on 3rd shift, our company nurses always told us not to eat protein on 3rd shift because your body cant handle it between midnights and 4 a. m. Dont know if thats true or not .


In the Brooder
12 Years
Apr 30, 2007
I worked rotating 12 hour shifts for 27 years in a coal mine. One of the things that helped was coming home and having just a bit of time to unwind. I would sit quietly and either read the paper or watch a boring tv show.

Also, get some exercise! Really, it does help.

Like a lot of the posters have said, keep your room as dark as possible, make your room as comfy as possible and I always liked to have a fan running. The constant noise was very soothing and blocked out noise.

AND my children knew from a very very young age that when mommy was sleeping, YOU DO NOT WAKE HER UP!:mad: I would also turn off the phone and sleep in the bedroom that was the farthest away from the front door.

Keep up a routine, that helps to. And since you are 3rd shift, use the evening to spend time with your fiance. Sometimes my DH and I would just have time to eat dinner together, but it was better than not seeing him at all. My children got used to the fact that when I was working, I was working and they didn't see me much. But when I was home........they would ask me when I was going back to work! LOL! Guess they didn't like me hovering all the time.


12 Years
Jul 31, 2007
Sanford N.C.
When I worked the "Graveyard Shift" and why it's called that is if you work it long enough it will put you there, I blacked out all windows in my bedroom, cut off all phones in the house and posted a sign on both doors to the effect that if they woke me up I would be calling the Rescue Squad to come pick up their mangled body. Thank God I didn't work it but for a few yrs. Good Luck


12 Years
Oct 28, 2007
Fernandina Beach Fl.
I have the opposite problem, I work nights and afternoon, my new schedule starting on tuesday is 1030a-7p
doesnt sound early to most people but when you're used to going to bed at 5-6am every night it's real hard to make that change. I love working 3rd shift, it's nice and quiet, no management around to bug me and I usually get along better with my night coworkers.

I couldnt pass up the new schedule, I work part time so I'll be working tues-thurs, 1030-700 off fri-mon.

the only bad part about working 3rd shift, if you have neighbors or live near busy roads or anything like that. Noise, lawnmowers, car stereos, trash trucks, the phone'll drive you insane.

I sleep like the dead so it really doesn't bother me but my GF was working 3rd poop and getting home at 8-9am and we lived in a ghetto neighborhood and she had a real hard time getting any sleep. People don't seem to understand they sleep at night, you don't and alot of em have no consideration for the fact you need to sleep my GF's 17 yr old was/is famous for that..she would just go about her normal routine, make noise, bangs dishes around, blare her stereo, keep showing up at the bedroom door..."moooommmmmmmyyyyy"
she still does it, drives me nuts cause she has zero respect for anyone else but god forbid you wake her up.

so to rehash, heavy curtains to keep the light out, turn the phone off, tell people that normally see you during the day that you'll be asleep till about 2-3pm so dont come knocking.
and you may need some earplugs if you're a light sleeper
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equine chick

12 Years
Feb 9, 2007
Volant Pa Lawrence County
Quote:I've never heard of that! I've been an Intensive care nurse going on 12 years and that is a new one on me. As long as you are hydrated and drink plenty of water and you don't have kidney problems it should be fine.

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