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2011-08-28 12:15 PM

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Subject: Working Nites
Ever since I started working nights 3 days a week.  My workouts have been crappy.  I feel like I have falling off a cliff. Does anybody else have this experience working nites.  Anybody have advice or tips to make it better.


2011-08-28 12:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

did you mean that you only work 3 nights a week and are off 4 or does your schedule flip flop...day shift /night shift within the same week?

If its the first...try working out on the 4 days you are off...if it's the later...a little tougher because of the inconsistant sleep pattern.  it helps me to put it on paper, even if it's a bit simple, to block out my time and make a plan....I work these hrs, I sleep at this time...I have hours between this and that available to work out....and just do it... your body will adapt to the change.

Anyway...good luck with your training.

2011-08-28 12:29 PM
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Heber Springs
Subject: RE: Working Nites
Thanks for the advice. I work Monday, Tuesday, and Wed nites but I get in 40hrs a wk during that time and waste 2.5 to  3 hrs a day during those days driving back and forth. Maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep during those days. It is different sleeping during the day.
2011-08-28 1:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

crosscountry74 - 2011-08-28 1:15 PM Ever since I started working nights 3 days a week.  My workouts have been crappy.  I feel like I have falling off a cliff. Does anybody else have this experience working nites.  Anybody have advice or tips to make it better.

I feel your pain!!!     I currently work a rotating 12-hour shift that switches between days and nights.  My workouts/plans are constantly changing due to being too tired or not having enough time in a day.  I have found that its best to get hard/long workouts on my days off and workout IF my body feels up to it on work days.  Most of the time I can fit in a quick, intense workout on workdays.  I have found that incorporating Crossfit workouts on my workdays help cause they add that short, intense workout and add variety to my training.  

Hope this helps.  Keep us posted as to how you change your workout schedule. 

2011-08-28 11:47 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

I work every sunday night overnight (7pm-7am). Only time it sucks is if I have a sprint distance race, I usually don't take that night off. I am fortunate enough to get a 2hr or so nap in before going to work--courtesy of my wife. One thing I do when possible is slam down a cup of coffee just before leaving work at 7am and then i will hit the pool for 45 min to an hour. Makes me go home and sleep like a baby!  Ya...iam somewhat more tired at the start of this pool workout, but, I now that my other swim workouts will usually be better. I have also biked for 60 to 90 mins or ran after working the overnight. Also, I will only do pool swims after working that overnight, nothing in open-water (lake,ocean,ect).  Don't want to risk my slight fatigue and swimming in OW.

My wife also use to work three straight overnight shifts in a row...first two nights are not that bad. Its the third in a row that will get you.

2011-08-29 12:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

Yep...it's a huge challenge.  We're not made to be up all night and to sleep during the day.  I too work clustered shifts with a large number of hours (mostly overnight hours) during a short period of time.   Here are some things I do:

- I make sure the room is pitch black & quiet when I have to sleep during the day

- I never work out after coming off a shift (I tried and the workouts were crappy)

- I do work out in the afternoon before starting a cluster of overnights, and I will then do a shorter workout in the evening following the morning of my last shift in the stretch.  

 - I do everything I can to get back to a "day" schedule during my days off, and I complete my longer or more challenging workouts on days off. 

- I accept the fact that sometimes I miss workouts or adjust them if my body just can't do it, and I maintain a lot of last minute flexibility (to switch a key workout to a new day if that particular day just isn't panning out).

- Sleep is the priority..without it, any workout suffers

Good luck.  A lot of people manage these kinds of schedules and you'll have to take some time to see what works for you.



2011-08-29 8:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

SpottedCow offered most of what I was thinking.

Is this shift new to you? I've been on nights (8:30p.m. to 6:30a.m.) for about two months now and it took my mind/body a few weeks to settle into the schedule. I am just now getting to the point where I can handle two-a-days. I also don't have any children.

Luckily I only have 20 minute commute. Some days I ride my bicycle to work. With a drive to/from work as long as yours, I would try to fit in most of my workouts on my off days.

I'm not sure if you're the same way, but if I get I workout in before I start my work-night, it gives me a wave of energy. I'll have a pre-workout drink beforehand and not be tired my whole shift. 

Lastly, I never have caffeine towards the end of my shift. Even if I'm tired, I will eventually find my groove once I start my workout. If I feel like crap after work, I just go to bed and make up the workout that evening before work.

2011-08-29 4:56 PM
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Heber Springs
Subject: RE: Working Nites
Thanks for all the advice.  I have only been working nites for alittle more than month.  Maybe, it will get better.  I will try some of the stuff you guys do.
2011-08-29 6:46 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites
I ran nights 12h/3x/wk for almost a year and I never got used to it.  I felt psychotic and my off days were totally wack.  When I moved to evening shift 11a-11p I realized that I needed to see the sunlight at least for a little while each day.  This made me think that a Vit. D suppliment may help.  They also make UV therapy lamps that are purported to help balance the night shift blues.
2011-08-29 8:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

Been there done that (doing that). Most weeks I do two night shifts and one day shift. Unlike others posting here, I do find I can get good am workouts after work - but only if I start within 30-45 minutes after work. Hang around too long idle, and the tired kicks in.

Basic key is to really focus on sleep hygiene and try to get quality sleep. I do catch 20-30 min naps at work, sometimes longer if we are slow.

Excercise before sleeping is very helpful to me. When I come home from a night shift without exercising, I am tired but have nervous energy and usually don't sleep right away anyhow. If I get a good workout in - especially a good swim - I sleep a lot better.

Another thing that helped me a lot was to totally eliminate caffiene from my life. Very hard to do at first, but my sleep/wake functioning is vastly better now.



Edited by alath 2011-08-29 8:49 PM
2011-08-29 9:11 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

I have worked shifts for 25 years, and only night shifts in the past 5 years.

It is not easy, but you will adapt. My situation is not typical since I am fortunate enough to work part time. I well remember working full time shifts and how draining it was. 

Some tips that help me: nap before you go in for a nightshift if at all possible. This not only makes the night easier to bear, but it makes a huge difference in how you will feel the next day. 

Try and eat every 2 hours or so during your shift. Again, this will not only help you feel well during your shift, but will help the next day as well. This is way easier on your digestive system than trying to stuff back a full "supper" in the middle of the night. I usually pack things like fruit, yogurt, whole grain crackers and peanut butter, cheese. You get the idea.

I never sleep well (chronic insomnia from many years of shifts), but sleep especially poorly after a night. I usually get to bed between 8:30 and 9 am and am awake by 11:00. Oddly enough , I usually am able to have a great workout after this. I suck back VERY strong espresso and then get to it. I usually do a short but intense workout. I feel great when I am doing it, courtesy of the caffeine. Later in the afternoon I usually feel like death,have just learned to accept it. I am usually in bed by 8 or 9 pm and am able to sleep straight through. The next day I feel pretty much normal.

If I have to do 2 twelve hour nights in a row, getting a workout in is a bit more challenging: I usually do a VERY easy ride in the afternoon, between my 2 shifts. Nothing long and nothing intense.

When I was still able to run ( pure cyclist now, long story) I would try and get a 7k run in at some point during my shift. I always enjoyed that........

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you.



2011-08-29 10:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites
I work 12hr. shifts 3 days one week and 4 days the next which includes every other weekend, every 28 days we shift from dayshift to nightshift. As soon as I get used to nightshift I shift to day shift, and frankly it sucks. When the kids are in school I am able to train during the week which is nice since it doesn't impact the family. My only advice is to get off nightshift the body wasn't meant to stay awake at night.
2011-08-29 10:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

timdude - 2011-08-29 9:28 PM I work 12hr. shifts 3 days one week and 4 days the next which includes every other weekend, every 28 days we shift from dayshift to nightshift. As soon as I get used to nightshift I shift to day shift, and frankly it sucks. When the kids are in school I am able to train during the week which is nice since it doesn't impact the family. My only advice is to get off nightshift the body wasn't meant to stay awake at night.

Thats a pretty wack schedule. There is a ton of research out of the best way to do rotating shifts. And that way is to not get used to them ... short periods then back to days. I could tell you more, is it possible your company would ever consider doing it different.

2011-08-29 10:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

crosscountry74 - 2011-08-28 11:15 AM Ever since I started working nights 3 days a week.  My workouts have been crappy.  I feel like I have falling off a cliff. Does anybody else have this experience working nites.  Anybody have advice or tips to make it better.

I'm a night person, I love nights. 12 hour rotating shift worker here. I've probably worked maybe 4 years of a 9-5 day job in my whole life. I just happen to be on one now for a couple years then it's back to shift.

Anyway, as much as I love nights, the world still is on days and I have to as well. 3 nights is actually very good for you because it is too short to get used to. So it's easy (relative) to swap off. I work 6:30-6:30 days or nights. So I sleep in late to noon first day then use last night as a regular day. Stay up, take a nap, go to bed and get up early next day. Still... it has gotten harder the older I get. Really it does not matter because everyone will do it different and you will just have to find out what works best for you.

What is important for me is when I work I work and that's it. I did do short workouts on those days, but really sort of rested and hit it hard on my days off... not ideal but it worked for me.

And yes... you MUST make sleep a priority.... SOOOO many people I know expect to carry on regular day activities and then come to work a zombie... training requires sleep and you HAVE to get it. You have to black out your room. I am perfectly fine sleeping all day long, but even I have my Bat Cave. Light screws up your cycles.. it also makes it harder to get going with out that "natural Sunrise", but nothing a cup of coffee can't cure. Also... firm believer in Meletonin. Even if you do not use it while on nights, at least use it to get over nights.. take first night off to get your body back into cycle.

What ever it is you do, it is important to make a schedule and stick to it. You have to be disciplined about your work, sleep, rest, and training. Meaning it is screwed up to not be a on a set day schedule, but make the best of it by sticking to a sleep schedule and don't just "wing" that. Get as regular as possible and just deal with the rest.

2011-08-30 12:17 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites
Curious - are you night shift folks all in healthcare? Or what line of business are you in that requires such weird hours?
2011-08-30 1:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

yazmaster - 2011-08-30 12:17 AM Curious - are you night shift folks all in healthcare? Or what line of business are you in that requires such weird hours?

 

I'm an emergency & critical/care veterinarian in a 24-hour facility - my overnights are 15 hour shifts (5pm - 8am) with at least another 1-3 hours tacked on at the end of the shift for rounds, phone calls, and typing medical records.  Yup...the hours and the work are completely whacked and I think most people would be surprised to know what kind of committment this job entails.  I still love it although I am a morning person trapped within a night person's career  

I'm doing my first Ironman in two weeks - on 9/11 (wisconsin) -  so it is possible to reach goals with this schedule although it sure has its challenges.



Edited by SpottedCow 2011-08-30 1:35 AM


2011-08-30 1:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

Power plant operator. Someone has to keep the wheel turning.

I actually love my job and my schedule. Not as easy as when I was younger... but 9-5 M-F is pretty wack. I only work 3 and 4 day stretches 12 hour shifts. 14 shifts out of 35 day rotation, 7 nights, 7 days. Every weekend is a 3 day weekend, sometimes 4. I can take 8 hours of vacation and have a week off. I love it.

2011-08-30 2:22 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

Law Enforcement here ...

I do two 5 on/5 offs then a 4 on/4 off to make a 28-day rotation. The first 5 is 2 days then 3 nights, the second is 3 days 2 nights, the 4 is 2 and 2. All 12 hour shifts, 7-7. It's a great schedule. I've worked others in my 10 years doing shifts, and like this one the best. I only work half the year! Laughing

Like everyone else has said - prioritize sleep. And prioritize healthy eating - junk won't get you through. And make your sleeping room as dark and non-disrupted as possible.

I do most of my hard workouts on my days off. I generally get up early before my first dayshift and do a quick hard workout (ie: intervals), then take the rest of my dayshifts as days off training (too tired, days kill me). I'll do easy workouts before nightshifts.

 

2011-08-30 3:26 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

I am an NICU nurse, hence the shift work.

Just wanted to echo what others have said about making sleep a priority: when you work nights, you are always in a deficit. Day time sleep is usually of poor quality. Make it a priority to get enough quality sleep when you are NOT working nights. This also makes a huge difference.........

2011-08-30 3:35 AM
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Heber Springs
Subject: RE: Working Nites
I am a sleep tech.  Thats why Im working nites now. Changed careers.  I didnt think working nites would affect me as much.  It just seems now all my workouts are a struggle.  I am basically just running now.  Lots of good info. Thanks for all the advice.  I am sure I will adapt some. 
2011-08-30 6:34 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

Obstetrics nurse here---

I work irregular shifts - every week is different. Usually 3 (sometimes 4) 8 hour shifts, but could be day, afternoon or night shifts. So nothing to get used to at all because its possible to work 2 shifts in a 24 hour period. Interesting what you say, powerman, about the research - I would love to see it as I always assumed regular shifts would be easier.

In terms of training...on days when I don't get enough sleep I make sure my nutrition is perfect - and that I am exceptionally hydrated before working out. And yes, sleep is a priority over training. I've tried training straight from a nightshift and I am like a zombie. Not worth it - total junk miles.

Right now for example I worked both a day shift and the immediately following night shift. Meaning yesterday I got up at 5:15 am to be at work by 7 am (no time for training), came home, watched my kids, slept for maybe 2 hours and at 10 pm went back to work until 7:30 am. Shuttle got me home around 8:45 am. Slept for 2 hours or so (no childcare). So obviously did no training at all yesterday, and will see how I feel later - going to eat a bean burrito now and drink lots of water.

Good luck with the transition. I am not a night person and HATE night shifts. Best part about being pregnant is that after week 20 we don't work night shifts around here...almost there!

Noa



2011-08-30 10:10 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites

I want to say the companies name is Circadian Research. My company wanted to see what was better... we worked the standard 8 hour rotating shift schedule... the most evil work schedule ever imposed on man.... In a nut shell, they have every 12 shift rotation known to man for 4-5-6 crew rotation. The bottom line is it is best to keep shifts to under 4 days or the body will get used to it. That's bad because then you have to get used to something else and it is much much more disruptive.

So we go night night day day... but what that means is I work a 3 night shift... then back to days for 7 days, 4 more nights and back to days for 20 days... I mean it is only 7 night shifts in a 35 day schedule. And day shift is harder on me but I'm weird like that.... The problem most employers have is 12 hour shifts mean you can't work doubles, and there will be some comp time involved or overtime. But you can do it with or without a relief crew.

But my point is... even though I'm a night person... straight nights would be disastrous because you still have to be a part of the real world which is on days. Rotating does suck sort of, but it is the best way to do it, and the best way to rotate is by keeping the number of nights worked in a row to under 4 and just do them and then get off them and back to a regular schedule... don't let the body get used to the abnormality, then get it back to normal as a soon as possible.... you want to talk about wack... get off nights, shift sleep one day, then get called in for second night... Ouch!. Nobody will come near me for a week.

So we went through this huge deal about shifting schedules.. the company had tons of data, and it really helps employers see what is best for the employee is what is best for the company from a health, safety, and productivity point of view. We were apprehensive at first but once people got used to the new schedule... nobody could understand how they put up with such ridiculous hours before. Shift work is hard on a person no way around that, but there are ways to make it work and make the best of a bad situation.

But got off nights yesterday cause I had to cover some vacation... got to bed at mid night, up at 8... off to go MTBing with no crowds... I do love my schedule.

2011-08-30 10:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Working Nites
I'm an ER nurse.  Will start as ER FNP next month.
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