T Nation

To Those Who Work Odd and Weird Hours

So Ive been working on the graveyard shift for about 2 months no. 11pm to 7am. I will tell you this: sometimes it really fucking sucks. There are days when I feel like total ass at work. All I want to do is veg out and do nothing. Im in the Air Force and work munitions. So we regularly move ammo boxes ranging anywhere from 50 to 90lbs. No ridiculous heavy but when youre tired and unmotivated its a pain. There are also days when I feel pretty good but when I go home and crawl into bed about 8:30am I CAN NOT SLEEP and it pisses me off.

I find myself resorting to NyQuil or Benedryl sometimes. Also I have my wife lying next to me. She goes to her college classes 3 days a week and they start about 10am. She would lay there a good 5-10 minutes with the alarm going off if I didn�¢??t kick her out of bed to go to school. I do it more so out of annoyance so I can have the room to myself and sleep.

Then there are the days when I sleep just fine. I Wake up when I want (usually about 4-5pm), and head off to gym before work with motivation and the energy I want to have in my system. By the time I grab some iron its about 8:45-9pm. I like the gym during this time. When I walk through the doors the last of the real devoted people are usually on their way out. Mostly high school kids there and they tend to stay out of my way (they seem to realize that we�¢??re the military folks and we usually have a more serious look about us - not that I consider myself better than them which Im not. I have tried hitting the gym after work at about 8am but my energy levels are too low. Also, Im WAY too close to bedtime to be pounding some NO enhancer with gratuitous amounts of caffeine. So the before work seems to be best for me and the food I eat throughout work replenishes the nutrients from the labors at the gym.

So I want to know to those who work the odd hours, what do you do? What works for you? What are your work hours and when do you hit the iron? Likes and dislikes? Also, and more important, any advice to those of us that sometimes have to crawl by our fingernails to get into the gym sometimes when we want to but our system seems to say to ourselves - FUCK YOU, I AM TIRED!

I’ve worked nights and it does suck. I think it’s probably easier for people who live alone but when you have to deal with someone in the house on a normal schedule, it blows.

I find extra cardio and carbs helps. I would usually skate or jog or even walk on a treadmill at an inlcine about two hours or so before work, after lifting if I was lifting that day. I also took protein bars and granola bars with me to work. Usually, I don’t eat them when I’m on a normal schedule but they did really help me with my energy levels. As for coffee, I could have it during the first half of my shift but not the last half. That way I would be able to go to sleep when I got home.

I had a pretty strict schedule when working nights and I do think that it made it easier. I would always stop at the same place for coffee before work and when I got home I would have breakfast and then take a long hot shower or bath to get ready for bed. I would stay awake until the rest of the family left for their days and then go to sleep so that I wouldn’t be interrupted.

I hope you find something that works for you, working nights can be rough.

Ive been working nights for the past 3 years, 6pm to 6 am shift. It used to sucks really bad when my wife worked, but now that she stays at home with our daughter its alot easier. My work week is thurs-sat with alternating wed every other week, so basically no weekend nights.
My gym time has been 3pm work days and non work days.
Rough life style but a stay at home wife def makes it more bearable.

my work hours are either 7p-7a or 11-7. what works for me, is getting 2-3 hrs sleep in in morning,hitting the gym, doing whatever i gotta do that day. then getting 2-3 hours sleep before work.

[quote]toejam wrote:
my work hours are either 7p-7a or 11-7. what works for me, is getting 2-3 hrs sleep in in morning,hitting the gym, doing whatever i gotta do that day. then getting 2-3 hours sleep before work.[/quote]

Really? Splitting sleep hours? That would not work for me. I like consistent sleep. I swear to God, I wish I owned a silencer for my gun. There’s this little dog that my neighbors have and this little piece of shit likes to go through its barking hours. Maybe feed it some antifreeze? Ok ok… I’m kidding folks. I’m getting deployed to Iraq in a month and I’m gonna use that time to pack on some muscle. Free food, ya know? I’m expecting to work 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. So either a night shift where it will be cooler (as in around 100F) but be ghostly white or work days and be subjected to an awesome feeling of 140F (notice the heavy cynicism folks)

I’m on the 11p-7a shift and I fucking HATE it! I was forced to take this shift and will never do it again. The good news is I get laid off at the end of next month and will never look back. I currently lift after work, my gym is 2min from my office so it works out. I get home around 9am an go straight to bed, get up about 3-4p and the time between sleep and work is family time. I don’t miss many lifting days but sometimes it’s really hard to get in the cardio I’d like, 3 days a week is a good week.

I’ve worked overnight shifts (11pm - 7am) for a few weeks at time once a year or so. They can be really brutal, and I can’t imagine doing months of it. But what I found made them more bearable for me was avoiding oversleeping, so that I still get at least a few hours of daylight in. Which was no easy feat, since I normally worked them in the dead of winter.

I always found I felt WAY better getting only 5-6 hours sleep, along with some daylight, rather than getting 9-10 (or more!) hours of sleep, but waking up after sunset.

Also, foam earplugs are the only way to go if you want uninterrupted sleep during the day.

auggie, years ago i lived in a bad part of town,people liked to get drunk and go out on the streets and fight, way too much noise. had a buddy tell me to run a fan at night (floor box fan) problem sloved.

I’ve been on midnights for a little over 2 years. It definitely took me about 2 months to get used to it. What works for me is, take melatonin about 3 hours before bed. Get blackout blinds, sleep mask, cardboard over the windows, I’ve done it all. Get your room dark. I sleep with fan a few feet from my head too.

I had only ever tried lifting before work. I’ve never been able to sleep after training, my nervous system is always pretty jacked.

Even on weekends, I maintain the 830 bedtime and try to get up at 1630. The other guys on my shift switch to daytime on weekends and are constantly complaining about how tired they are.

I used to work nights (11-7, or at times 11-10am) lifting boxes and dragging pallettes around a store. Did that for a summer. I kept it similar to daytime schedule by going to sleep no later than 11 AM. One time I tried to get chinese at 10am and was genuinely surprised they weren’t open, haha. Lifting the objects at work killed my lifting at home, which ended up being much higher-rep lower-weight than I desired. I remember trying out some MMA conditioning workouts using medicine balls and bodyweight routines. Cardio, which I struggled with with the nights, was either early evening or before bedtime. What I hated more was working for the same company doing another job when they’d schedule me 11am-7pm, wasted days…

Have you guys ever heard of Provigil? A few of my coworkers who do the graveyard shift (I don’t) have told me their doctors prescribed them Provigil, which is apparently a mild stimulant used to treat whats known as shift work sleep disorder.

If I had to go to the graveyard shift I’d talk to my doctor about it. Although I’d do some research to make sure it doesn’t effect anything important to training, like cortisol levels.

do provigil myself. it’s hard to say exactly what it does, for me it keeps me more focused than a stimulant. it was originally devolped for m.s. people to help them make it through the day,and like other drugs found other uses.

I’d suggest buying some earplugs, and making your room as dark as possible by getting better blinds/curtains and maybe using one of those eye mask things.

Some tips on sleeping well:

I worked nights for 15 years.
#1. Darken the room. Tinfoil on windows heavy drapes whatever make the room dark.
#2. Ambient noise. I have slept with one of those box fans from WalMart on high setting even now that I dont work nights.
#3. If you are not on call, turn your phone off and dont have one in your room.
#4. Go home and sleep in the morning first thing. I would then get up around 2-3 in the afternoon and workout eat and then go to work.

10 years of working nights. When I first started it was 5:30 pm to 4:30 am, 4 days a week. Then it went to 4:30 to 1, 5 days a week. Now we’re back to 4 days of 4:45 pm to 3:15 am. I dont mind the hours. The people on dayshift would drive me insane. When we’re busy and dayshift stays late to help us, I want to kill them all.

My wife works dayshift and we have 2 kids. One is 8 and the other just turned a year old. The 8 year old has to get up at 7:30 for school. My sleep during the week goes like this : 3:30 am to 7:30. Then a nap 9:30 to 10:30. I go to the gym 4 or 5 days a week around 11:30 am.

It can be rough but you get used to it. Plus we dont have childcare expenses.

I used to work 8pm - 6am while I was in school. I would come home, sleep til 1-2pm, go to class, then lift at 6 or so before work. I only worked 3-4 days a week though, and some of those days were weekends.

Go to the gym when you get off work then dick around until and do whatever until noon. Go to sleep at noon with a blackout curtain over all windows.

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