The circle of sleep

Sleep depravation. It’s not big and it’s not clever. It sucks. It can be painful, mind numbing and hurt, mentally and physically.

I have worked shifts for a few years now and it is tiring, but I enjoy it. The reason I enjoy it is because when people are going to bed we are mooching about, watching what is going on in the dark, seeing who is about and trying to catch the criminals.

I think nights are hard because of sleep depravation, changes in pattern and sociability.
Earlies start from 7am, Lates can start anything up to 6pm (more like nights!), and Nights start from 9pm and finish at 7am. It is difficult but there are ways that we deal with it.

I have been using a chemical ‘kosh’ for sometime, which although not ideal, it is helpful but it can be addictive. It has an effect both psychologically and physically. I am trying to stop taking them.
I do believe that shifts also have a detrimental effect on both the worker and their family.
When you work shifts it does make you unsociable, as when you finish your six days, two earlies, two Lates (finish up to 6am) and Nights (finish at 7am), as you sleep into your first rest day, the rest day you are kind of getting back in to the swing and then the other two days having to do your housework, chores, shopping etc etc etc. Then it starts over again…..

If your loved ones aren’t shift workers then they don’t always get it, and even if they used to, they do tend to forget. I have worked through 5 different shift patterns, and no one is ever satisfied, however, you can strike a balance, but it is difficult.

I know when you speak to colleagues they talk about the fact their family say they are lazy or don’t do your chores but rest days are for REST!
So we don’t get the washing done, or do the ironing, and there are times we feel tired that we don’t feel like going out, but we can’t help it. We are going round in circles.

I do get to go out with staff from time to time and I have heard the gentle sound of snoring, it’s then I feel grateful for being the driver.
We all struggle from time to time, and it can have medical repercussions. A lot of emergency workers suffer with IBS or IBD, it’s proving to be very popular amongst us, amongst other issues.
It can also have family repercussions too, the stress on relationships amongst shift workers is high and there seems to be a large amount of break up and swaps and a lot of it is down to shifts and a lack of understanding.

So although shifts can be exciting, I think they do have a detrimental effect and a little understanding goes a long way.

If you are with someone who works shifts, please be gentle………

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