Psychiatrist Questions Work productivity

What can I do to cope with my late night shifts?

I am unable to cope with working late nights, which my job actually demands. It has now began to affect my productivity at work. Is it normal or am I inefficient? Is there any way in which I can enhance my productivity at work in spite of working late nights?

8 Answers

This is difficult for most people. Try to get 8 hours of sleep and keep your schedule the same on your days off. Speak with your doctor if this does not help you enough.
I commend you for working a night shift, which takes a toll on the body’s Natural Circadian Rhythm-To work during the day and sleep during night.
Thus, working a night shift can make us tired, have less concentration, and even less productivity.
Consider the following:
•Try to avoid exposure to early-morning daylight on the way home.
•Go to bed as soon as you get home from night shift.
•Have an afternoon nap if you didn’t get enough sleep in the morning.
•Avoid a main sleep in the evening — sleep may be more difficult then because your body temperature is up and you’re more alert.
*On days off, try to be as nocturnal as possible.
•Get up late in the morning (for example, after midday) and go to bed late at night (such as after midnight).
•Feel good about your desire to improve productivity.

Slow shift rotations (changing shifts every week or so):
•Go to bed as soon as you get home from night shift. Avoid a main sleep in the evening — sleep may be more difficult then because your body temperature is up and you’re more alert.
•Have an afternoon nap if you didn’t get enough sleep in the morning.
•Avoid napping during the night shift unless you’re very sleepy — if you do nap, keep it short, no more than 20–30 minutes.
•Try to avoid exposure to early-morning daylight on the way home. Wearing sunglasses may help.
•Eat three regular meals a day, including ‘lunch’ during your night shift.
•Daytime sleep is likely to be shorter and you may become tired after a few nights — usually just as you have to drive home in the morning. If this happens, find an alternative to driving yourself home.

Permanent night workers or those returning to night shift after days off can try the tips above for slow shift rotation. On days off, try to be as nocturnal as possible:
•Get up late in the morning (for example, after midday) and go to bed late at night (such as after midnight).
•Avoid morning sunlight by staying indoors as much as possible or wearing sunglasses.
•Try to stay with your night shift schedule as much as possible.




Sleep hygiene is extremely important. If you have a steady night shift, then you should plan all of your life around being awake at night, even when you're not working. If you set for yourself a different sleep schedule for your free days, then your circadian rhythms will be disturbed. It seems difficult, but it's the only way.
Ask your doctor about provigil or nuvigil. They are for shift workers and can help you stay awake and sharp. Start a low dose and increase as needed. Can cause headaches if you start higher dose.

DRGK
A great question. Shift work definitely affects sleep which, in turn, can affect work productivity. The problem lies within the limbic system of the brain where controls exist for setting a sleep cycle. This sleep cycle is tied to sunlight and darkness cycles and can be influenced by all kinds of internal and external factors including emotional state, exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol, etc. So, to compensate for shift work changes, you must make sure that you follow good sleep habits such as not eating right before going to bed, not exercising within 3-4 hours of bedtime, no alcohol or cigarettes before bedtime, use room darkening window coverings in your bedroom, make sure the bedroom is as quiet as can be (or get a white noise machine) and to help "set" a new sleep cycle (i.e. going from a graveyard shift to a daytime shift), you may try a sleep aid for the first couple of bedtimes, such as Benadryl, Melatonin or Valerian.

Rob Dahmes, MD
Nuvigil and provigil are approved for the treatment of shift work sleep disorder.
Night Shift is a demon of the modern day way of life. Nature has made nights for sleep and if one goes against the biological clock that nature has fit in your brain, that what happens how you are feeling. that being said, I don't think it is a reflection of your inefficiency.
There are ways to deal with it. Among them the foremost is to try to have your shift change if at all possible. if that is not possible then you need to see a doctor and get the full physical exam including your mental health and ask your doctor's opinion if you could be the good candidate who may benefit from taking stimulant medication to cope with night shift and taking Melatonin when you finish work so that biological clock can be Re-set as per your work requirements.
hope this will be helpful.
It’s a normal body response. A person does need a good night's sleep before starting next day.