I’m now working on my second week of third shift. Thankfully, it’s my last for at least another few weeks. After a week of trying to convince my body that day is night and night is day, I’ve come to understand a few truths about third shift.
1. Caffeine is your friend. Caffeine has kept me awake in the middle of the night when my body really would rather be sleeping. Specific amounts? Well, Sunday night to Monday morning, I consumed 2 cups of coffee (290mg caffeine), 2 Red Bull energy drinks (160mg caffeine) and 1 Diet Mountain Dew (55mg caffeine). That comes to a total of 505mg of caffeine. The rest of the week, I can maintain an average of 2 cups of coffee/tea (94mg – 290mg caffeine), 1 Red Bull energy drink (80mg caffeine) and 1 Diet Mountain Dew (55mg caffeine) per day. That totals out at somewhere between 229 – 425mg caffeine. Breaking myself of the caffeine is going to be painful next week.
2. Melatonin is also your friend. 1mg of melatonin taken every morning when I’m ready to go to sleep has helped my body actually get into a deep sleep and stay there for some decent number of hours. I would not be able to pull off the small amounts of caffeine I’ve been drinking if it wasn’t for the decent amount of sleep I’ve been getting during the day.
3. There is no good solution to moving your life around in order to work a third shift. Just find something that doesn’t force you to completely put your life on hold and go with it. Supposedly, the best way to work it is to take your normal schedule (Sleep, wake up, go to work, come home, play, repeat) and just shift the entire schedule to accomodate when you’re at work. That way, your body doesn’t go completely whack on you. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s definitely the most popular piece of advice I’ve received.
4. Sean is an absolute angel. I technically already knew this, but this experience has reinforced it. I’m really not good for very much during the week. I get home around 11am – noon. I go to sleep. I wake up at 7pm (Sean’s already been home for a couple horus at this point and has been nice enough to stay quiet). I’m coherent for a few hours in which I spend that time with Sean so that we don’t become strangers. At about 10pm, Sean goes to sleep and I head off to work. Not a lot of time in there to actually be productive and get stuff done. As a result, Sean’s been cooking dinner and usually cleaning up afterwards while I take a shower. He’s been really quiet while I’m still asleep and he gives up time that he would normally have for World of Warcraft so that we can spend time together. Thank you Sean!