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    Thread: Staying Awake on 3rd Shift

    1. Member JMTombstone's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 06:00 PM #1
      After only 3 months at my new job (I do security for an auto auction) I was promoted to shift supervisor for 3rd shift. With the raise I get more money, the title of Sergeant, and only work 4 days a week instead of 5 (still 40 hours). Now, I do not mind working 2300-0700 since it is nice and quiet, but I find myself becoming very tired in the last 1-2 hours. The thing about my job is I work patrol, so for those 8 hours I am driving around 300+ acres of property at an average of 7 mph (not very exciting). Energy drinks and 5 hour energy do little for me.

      What tricks do you all have for staying awaken during the graveyard shift?

      Note: I usually sleep from 7:30 when I get home in the morning to about 1:30-3:30.
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      Quote Originally Posted by pwm View Post
      Look...we know what Chris Harris thinks of the FR-S, and now we know what Jay Leno thinks, but what do 20 year old euro humping TCL'ers driving 10 year old golfs and who jerk it to TDIs think?! I don't think we've heard from them yet...

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      03-11-2013 06:04 PM #2
      Halfway through your shift, Bananas are your friend. I used to eat 2 or three a DAY when I worked that shift in the casino.


      Quote Originally Posted by JacksSenseOfRejection
      Here's a fun fact: if someone is hitting you with a metal pipe, stay down.

    3. Member turbinepowered's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 06:08 PM #3
      Bananas, as mentioned.

      Take a walk. If you have a portion of your patrol you can reasonably do on foot, DO IT. The physical activity works far better than another cup of coffee.

      Give it time. I worked 3rd shift driving, 9-5 (the OTHER 9-5, as I used to tell people ) it took me two months to really get used to it and not feel tired at the end of the shift.

      If you work out regularly, step up your exercise for a few weeks. If you don't already work out regularly, start taking a short 15-20 minutes to do some light exercise before you go to bed. Even something as simple as a good stretching regimen will help, just something to tell your body that it shouldn't already be shutting down at 5AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      There is an area of a normal brain that lets the owner know the object works and needs to be left alone. Not all of us have it. It is like being colorblind.

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      03-11-2013 06:18 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by turbinepowered View Post
      Bananas, as mentioned.

      Take a walk. If you have a portion of your patrol you can reasonably do on foot, DO IT. The physical activity works far better than another cup of coffee.

      Give it time. I worked 3rd shift driving, 9-5 (the OTHER 9-5, as I used to tell people ) it took me two months to really get used to it and not feel tired at the end of the shift.

      If you work out regularly, step up your exercise for a few weeks. If you don't already work out regularly, start taking a short 15-20 minutes to do some light exercise before you go to bed. Even something as simple as a good stretching regimen will help, just something to tell your body that it shouldn't already be shutting down at 5AM.
      This is pretty much on point. (Except I never tried the bananas thing, but I'll take your word for it )

      If you just started on third shift, you need some time to adapt. It took me a good 2-3 months to get comfortable with the change, and even up until the last day I worked night shift, I never felt 100% adjusted, but it got to a point where it was "good enough".

      And yes, physical activity helps a lot. I was doing warehouse work, so it was physical by nature and that helped keep me going. The trick was to not get too comfortable when I sat down at lunchtime, otherwise it was game over

      DON'T get yourself hooked on using 5-Hour Energy or tons of caffeine to get by. If you do that, you're never going to have a chance at adjusting properly. All of the guys who I worked with who relied on that stuff had the hardest time, by far, trying to get used to the schedule.

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      03-11-2013 06:23 PM #5

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      03-11-2013 06:46 PM #6
      Simple: don't go to bed as soon as you get home. Try to stay up for at least an hour.

      Or, cocaine.

    7. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 06:52 PM #7
      Hang out at the local middle school and buy some Adderall.
      Or ask your doctor. Night shift is tough man, I got moved to second shift and that ain't so bad. I have a family though, it's driving us all nuts.
      ...tunes from the car makin' everybody dizzy. bumpin' Flaming Lips, Johnny Cash and Biggie...

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    8. Member 92skirmishgti's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:03 PM #8
      Car pop?

      It's like a desk pop, only in a car.

    9. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:05 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by 92skirmishgti View Post
      Car pop?

      It's like a desk pop, only in a car.
      ...tunes from the car makin' everybody dizzy. bumpin' Flaming Lips, Johnny Cash and Biggie...

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    10. Member StayGold11's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:18 PM #10
      what's the deal with bananas and staying awake??

    11. Administrator BHB's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:21 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by JMTombstone View Post
      What tricks do you all have for staying awaken during the graveyard shift?
      redbull and dip?
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    12. Member 92skirmishgti's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:37 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post

    13. Member turbinepowered's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:37 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by mkII_short_dub View Post
      what's the deal with bananas and staying awake??
      I don't know, but it works pretty well.
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      There is an area of a normal brain that lets the owner know the object works and needs to be left alone. Not all of us have it. It is like being colorblind.

    14. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:38 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by mkII_short_dub View Post
      what's the deal with bananas and staying awake??
      I think it's about a Ween Song.
      ...tunes from the car makin' everybody dizzy. bumpin' Flaming Lips, Johnny Cash and Biggie...

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      03-11-2013 07:38 PM #15
      Dip always made me crap instantly. I heard the booger sugar does the same.

    16. Member kenny301's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 07:48 PM #16
      Coffee and getting up and walking around usually work pretty well for me. I work 12hr shifts sitting infront of a computer 50% of the time. I've never heard of the banana thing.

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      03-11-2013 08:31 PM #17
      I've worked third shift for ten years now and still have trouble sometimes.the worst is the ride home.I stick to a sleep schedule to.I work 5 to 1 stay up until 5 and wake up at 11am

    18. 03-11-2013 08:51 PM #18
      It doesn't work for everybody and not everybody will agree, but if you smoke, light up one around 3am, it usually does the job for me when i have to work that shift.

      Also drinking lots of water, and just get myself busy either with listening to music, going up and down the stairs jogging (i work T.I) so i can't really go out or being on a car.
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      03-11-2013 09:29 PM #19
      This... I have a case of them in the car.

      If you can afford to screw up twice, why can't you afford to do it right the first time?

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      03-11-2013 09:30 PM #20
      Nuvigil.

    21. Member JMTombstone's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 09:35 PM #21
      I thought bananas had something in them that would put you to sleep?

      Quote Originally Posted by Hi-Speed View Post
      This... I have a case of them in the car.

      monster.jpg
      I go through cases of monster, doesn't have an effect on me anymore. I drink it now for the taste. Thought the past week I have stopped. Developed an eye twitch that I believed was associated with caffeine so I stopped having any to test if it went away. Its better, but still sometimes happens.
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      Quote Originally Posted by pwm View Post
      Look...we know what Chris Harris thinks of the FR-S, and now we know what Jay Leno thinks, but what do 20 year old euro humping TCL'ers driving 10 year old golfs and who jerk it to TDIs think?! I don't think we've heard from them yet...

    22. Member kenny301's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 10:32 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by SICKVDUB1 View Post
      It doesn't work for everybody and not everybody will agree, but if you smoke, light up one around 3am, it usually does the job for me when i have to work that shift.
      I did that when I still smoked. Figures, I stopped smoking and within a month I fell asleep behind the wheel and hit another car after a shift.


      Now that I think about it, watch drinking all of those sugary energy drinks. Working nights screws with your body in a lot of ways and it can exacerbate the weight you may already gain from drinking all of that sugar. Add to that sitting down most of your shift.

    23. 03-11-2013 10:47 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by kenny301 View Post
      I did that when I still smoked. Figures, I stopped smoking and within a month I fell asleep behind the wheel and hit another car after a shift.


      Now that I think about it, watch drinking all of those sugary energy drinks. Working nights screws with your body in a lot of ways and it can exacerbate the weight you may already gain from drinking all of that sugar. Add to that sitting down most of your shift.
      I actually cut down on sodas and sugary drinks overall, i mostly drink water, coffee and smoke, it does help once in a while even though i know it's bad for me, or sometimes when allowed i take power naps. I take my lunch hour set my alarm and go to town for that hour, it helps a lot, specially on my way back home, i light one up turn the stereo up and just go home to sleep.
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    24. Member Mr Miyagi's Avatar
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      03-11-2013 10:53 PM #24
      Adjust your schedule. If that isn't enough then you have an extremely boring job. Ask for a faster cart and try to do some drifting or take it off some jumps. If someone looks at you wrong then drive up to them and tackle them. These would all wake you up.

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      03-11-2013 10:56 PM #25
      Hire armed professionals to break into the auction compound at random. Make sure they don't tell you when they'll do it. Make sure they use real rounds, but "promise to not aim directly at you".

      That'll keep you wide awake.

    26. 03-11-2013 11:33 PM #26
      I don't have a problem staying awake now, but I work in a lit office, and I can get up and walk around the barracks whenever I feel like it.

      In the Patrol - staying awake in a vehicle was much more difficult. Especially when working midnight shift. Around 0400-0430, I used to suffer big time. I could almost count on it. Then if I made it past that sleep assault, I was good to go.

      Definitely getting out and walking around, etc. And something as simple as turning on the cabin light helps (I do this when I'm driving - wouldn't suggest it for security work though). I've never tried Bananas.

      I know snack food (sunflower seeds, etc.) help, but that can lead to being fatty. I used to buy a box of Mike and Ikes or something if I was tired before driving home. Just the simple act of eating them kept me awake (something to do, basically).

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      03-11-2013 11:45 PM #27
      I would say get up and do stuff, but it already sounds like you are doing just that by patrolling. I would say don't be afraid to get out and walk around. When we are out and about in our purdy fire trucks we see local police walking from building to building checking doors and windows all the time during the night shift (twelve hour shifts). They do it so they don't go crazy when nothing is happening around 4 a.m.

      Fire fighter's have it easy at night because we can sleep. Police have to find ways to entertain themselves because it gets old fast in the wee hours of the morning. Such as see who can pull over the most expensive car. That's a popular one.
      Last edited by VDubby18; 03-11-2013 at 11:48 PM.

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      03-12-2013 12:10 AM #28
      I took a course that involved sleep scheduling for pilots doing long haul flights.

      In the short term, drugs to help keep you awake like Modafinil (pro vigil) can help. Conversely, Zolpidem (ambien) or some other benzodiazepene may be useful in making sure you go down and get some deep sleep.

      What's more important is to just keep your basics up. Push back your sleep just a bit to separate it from your activity. Make sure you're allocating 8 hours for sleep a day. When you sleep, make sure it's as dark and quiet as possible. Get dark drapes and no lights, tvs, etc. If you can do that for a few weeks, your sleep habits should sort themselves out.

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      03-12-2013 12:19 AM #29
      I am ideally looking to sleep from when I get home from work to about 3:00 pm. From what I am reading though I am wondering if that is achievable. Many things I read online say "if you are expecting to sleep in the morning, you are wrong". I get the fact that sleeping in the afternoon, working nights, and running errands in the morning mimics a 1st shift schedule. However, I don't see how it can be so hard to sleep in the morning/early afternoon, run errands in the afternoon/early evening, and work the night shift since this mimics a 2nd shift schedule (awake for 8 hours before work, work 8 hours, come home and sleep). I have done 2nd shift like that with little problems.

      Am I seeking something unattainable?
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      Quote Originally Posted by pwm View Post
      Look...we know what Chris Harris thinks of the FR-S, and now we know what Jay Leno thinks, but what do 20 year old euro humping TCL'ers driving 10 year old golfs and who jerk it to TDIs think?! I don't think we've heard from them yet...

    30. Member turbinepowered's Avatar
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      03-12-2013 04:57 AM #30
      Again, don't drop right into bed as soon as you get home. Do something for half an hour, then go to bed.

      Dropping right into bed sets up a rhythm that includes your body "winding down" while you're still at work. Your drive home and your last hour or so on the clock will suffer for it.

      By adding a half hour buffer you start that process later. You'll be less tired for "because now it's time for sleep" reasons.

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      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      There is an area of a normal brain that lets the owner know the object works and needs to be left alone. Not all of us have it. It is like being colorblind.

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      03-12-2013 05:30 AM #31
      You'll eventually get used to it. I've been working my alternating day/night schedule for the last five years and worked 3rd shift at my prior job regularly. I agree with staying up for a little bit when you get home to push your sleep schedule back. You can just do it by a little bit as Turbinepowered suggested and that will still leave you the late afternoon/evening to get stuff done.


      I have a commute home that takes anywhere from 45mins to 1hr 15mins depending on how many dingbats decided to play bumper cars on my route(s) home so my extra awake time is pre-programed in. However, if I am awake more than two hours past the end of my shift I have a hard time getting to sleep.

      Ah, the joys of night shift.

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      03-12-2013 05:33 AM #32
      Find ephedra. I'd say walk more, but that doesn't seem like a great option for you. Get an absolutely ridiculous flashlight and have some fun.
      Last edited by leaftye; 03-12-2013 at 05:35 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by apizzaparty View Post
      never thought once to use my lefty for the brake. sorry in my opinion it is dumb.

    33. Member kenny301's Avatar
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      03-12-2013 05:44 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
      Find ephedra. I'd say walk more, but that doesn't seem like a great option for you. Get an absolutely ridiculous laser and have some fun.
      FTFY

    34. Member retro_rocket's Avatar
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      03-12-2013 06:34 AM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by JMTombstone View Post
      I am ideally looking to sleep from when I get home from work to about 3:00 pm. From what I am reading though I am wondering if that is achievable. Many things I read online say "if you are expecting to sleep in the morning, you are wrong". I get the fact that sleeping in the afternoon, working nights, and running errands in the morning mimics a 1st shift schedule. However, I don't see how it can be so hard to sleep in the morning/early afternoon, run errands in the afternoon/early evening, and work the night shift since this mimics a 2nd shift schedule (awake for 8 hours before work, work 8 hours, come home and sleep). I have done 2nd shift like that with little problems.

      Am I seeking something unattainable?
      No, it's not unattainable. That's how I structured my schedule when I worked third shift. Worked from 10-7, went home, took a shower, watched a little TV or messed around on the computer, then slept from about 8-3. Got up and ran all my errands and stuff in the late afternoon and evening. If I really felt like I was dragging, I would throw in a 30-minute nap before going to work.

      Again, everyone does it a little differently. I worked with some guys who did the same thing, and I worked with other guys who preferred to stay up when they got home and sleep in the afternoon instead. The most important thing is to find out what schedule works for you, and then stick to it so your body can adapt.

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      03-12-2013 06:34 AM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
      Find ephedra. I'd say walk more, but that doesn't seem like a great option for you. Get an absolutely ridiculous fleshlight and have some fun.
      FTFY.

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