I’ve been working the third shift for the past couple of days to help fill-in for a call off. While it doesn’t bother me that I’m picking up extra days, I’m learning that third shift can seriously screw with you.
While working, I experience the midnight hour and thus, a new day. At the beginning of my shift, I start on, say, a Friday, with the date of Sept. 16. Everything that I sign and date has 9/16 on it… at least for the first few hours. Then, midnight comes, a new day begins and I have to start remembering that it is now Saturday, Sept. 17. It’s easy to make the switch while I’m awake and at work; however, when I go home to sleep and wake up with it still being the same day, it’s hard to remember which day it is.
Normally, most people wake up on Tuesday, go to sleep on Tuesday, and wake up on Wednesday.
Imagine waking up on Tuesday, going to sleep on Wednesday, and waking up on Wednesday.
Seems simple enough on paper but when I speak to others about when I last spoke to someone, I can’t remember which day it was that I spoke to them. “Tomorrow’ actually is “Today” because I wake and sleep on the same day.
Furthermore, when I spoke to someone “Yesterday” it technically hasn’t happened yet. I spoke to them before taking my sleep but my sleep is still on the same day; ‘yesterday’ doesn’t exist yet unless referring to the entire previous day.
Try living it. Breakfast is at 3 p.m.; lunch at 9 p.m.; dinner at 3:30 a.m.
Just earlier today, my boyfriend made the comment that he ‘got his days confused’. It’s nothing like losing entire days to sleep when a day off comes and the following day is supposed to be on second shift now. Making the switch to sleeping like ‘normal people’ causes a switch in not only sleep patterns but also with energy.
Caffeine is a requirement in the house to adjust with the fluctuating sleep/wake hours that I deal with.
I’ve learned to be more forgiving of those who can no longer remember what day it is or ‘how the days fly by’.
On third shift, everything is a giant blur of days, hours, work, and life.