4 Hours Of Sleep
Posted 10 April 2013 - 04:00 PM
When I used to work shift work I had a side business. I rarely got more than 5hrs sleep, but as a consequence it affected my decision making and my cognitive ability. Not to mention feeling run down and confused. I drank copious amonts of coffee. I would do this for a week or two and then finally crash on a weekend for 12+hrs.
I no longer work shift, but these days I suffer with insomnia. I'll go to sleep at 10pm and lay awake until 2:30am or 4am. Then I'll finally doze off. I will not not feel like getting up when the 5am alarm clock goes off because of it. Most of the time I'm thinking about items concerning my job. I have always been an excessively worried person, but it's only after I got into my mid forties that this began. I used to sleep a good 7-8hrs before that.
Of course everybody feels pain at different degrees in many ways. What you think is painful may feel like a heart attack to me. What I can get by on sleep-wise may totally disorient someone else.
I have alot of peers my age who say they have the same issues with regard to sleep. So I'd like to attribute it to age, but not sure that is the only cause. Of course as you get older many people move up the ladder in their profession into jobs with greater responsibility causing undo stress. We also become parents and have children to concern ourselves with.
Although with my insomnia 4 hrs a night is not my ideal sleep period, it is what I often end up with on many days. So I think it's interesting to read something about people who actually shoot for just 4hrs. I could never go that short on a continous basis even when I was younger. With the way it makes me feel I wouldn't want to. Does anybody else get by on more or less than 4hrs?
Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:07 PM
I don't think I can function well with only 4 hours of sleep. I definitely need more than that. Sleep is important because it gives the brain the chance to do some mental housecleaning and rewiring, so that we can perform better the next day.
Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:53 AM
I have a hard time functioning on 6-7 hours of sleep a night, so 4 hours would probably do me in. I find once I get home from work I have so much to do it keeps me up until 11:00 and I have to be up by 5:00 the next morning. By the weekend I am exhausted but can't sleep in. I'm not so sure it has to do with age so much as it does with what you get use to.
Posted 01 April 2014 - 06:25 AM
For me, insomnia has been something that comes to visit at random times. I have worked all types of shifts too, swing shifts are really hard on the body. I could do that when I was younger but I don't think I could manage doing it now.
Posted 01 April 2014 - 10:29 AM
I have been working graveyard shift for almost nine years and during that time I have also done a lot of research on this very topic, for the obvious reasons. For a time I was working 5 and even 6 nights a week, often 10-14 hour days, because we were short staffed and the company was willing to pay the over-time. There were other extenuating circumstances involving unprofessional conduct by supervisors which contributed to my distress and made both sleep and eating properly quite impossible. I was making decent money after a time and I was unwilling to transfer to another position and accept a cut in pay when I was in the right, nor did I want to take the matter to arbitration as I live in a small city and from experience I know the effect that can have on one's future opportunities.
(Yes, it is completely wrong, but I have better things to do with my life than be a martyr, so I toughed it out until a better opportunity came along and in the process, the 'trouble' also moved on, so I made a difference by staying the course.)
By the time I left, I had dropped 20 lbs and I was not overweight to start, so the schedule and stress had a serious impact on my well-being. In particular, I was incurring repetitive strain injuries that were slow to heal and I read somewhere that the healing processes of the body occur during night sleep and that no amount of sleep at other intervals has quite the same effect. I was also quite sad and easily distressed by normal challenges and I recognized this as a form of emotional breakdown bordering on depression.
I went to another graveyard shift job (same corporation, different scale of venue) and changed my availability to 3 nights per week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and also took an office administrator job for two mornings a week, effectively being on night shift clock half the week and on day shift schedule Monday through Wednesday. I have been working this schedule for almost 5 years now and it works for me. As soon as I reduced the number of graveyard shifts, my injuries managed to heal and I regained weight to my previous normal.
My experience remains, however, that on the nights I work graveyards, I only managed to sleep 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours and I allow myself to sleep until satisfied on Sunday nights and Monday nights. I seldom book an appointment on a Monday because even if the appointment is later in the day, just knowing that I have to arrange my day and chores to suit interferes with my quality of sleep.
During the last nine years, I have seen over 150 people come and go simply because their body and/or lifestyle could not be adapted to night shift. I believe that I may have achieved what I have seen referred to as a 'floating circadian rhythm', which is another bit of research and a hypothesis that I came across during my reading. I have read a lot and did not bookmark everything so I apologize for not providing links. I've been through several computers as well. Life is too short to hang onto every scrap of information when new discoveries are being made every day.
Posted 01 April 2014 - 11:11 AM
That night shift story is a good one because it accentuates the fact that what your body can acclimate to is going to be your ideal pattern. I've worked graveyard for many years, 2nd shift and 1st periodically, and the one that works best for me is graveyard. When you're on a schedule your body feels comfortable with, sleep just seems to come easy.
Posted 01 April 2014 - 11:23 AM
You make a good point, Curious.
Although I do not get many hours of sleep on my three graveyard shifts, I never force myself to go to bed until I am ready or feel a bit sleepy and I have no problem hearing my alarm or getting up to it. Sometimes I even awake just minutes before it goes off. I usually make it to bed by 7:15 p.m. and arise at 10:45 p.m. and leave for work by 12:30 a.m., working 1-9:00 a.m. I used to attempt to retire by 3:00 p.m. but my body rebelled, lol. They may be short hours of sleep, but they are always sound. My graveyard shift job is quite physically demanding and fast paced so it provides it's own stimulation and free coffee is one of the perks of the job. I am a price-checker, and also assist with stocking.
May I ask what graveyard work you perform and which hours of sleep are optimal for you?
Posted 01 April 2014 - 05:44 PM
Under the Rose, I feel for you. I only worked shift work for a few years, but I did not like it at all. I still work for the same company, but no longer do that job. Our shifts are 7 day runs but split over two weeks so the company doesn't have to pay so much overtime. For example we work 7 nights of midnight starting on a Friday night. with that pay period ending on Sunday. After our midnight shift you have a few days off then start your 7 day run of 4-12 shift on Wednesday. Then they work a week of day work which backs up to the beginning hours of the midnight shift to give them their 40 hrs. In other words it's a rolling shift work position. I could never get into a rhythm with that schedule.
I work closely with the operators who still work the job. Some of them actually like it or so they say. One guy told me after midnight shift he goes home and right to bed. He has dark heavy curtains so no sunlight can get into the room and he will shut off the ringer on his home and cell phones basically a vampire. Other guys I talked to try to stay up after a midnight shift as long as possible then crash before they head in.
I did notice while I worked these late shifts a certain amount of comradery among others working these shifts. There is a lot of them out there when you think about it. Nurses in hospitals, policemen, overnight delivery services. Around here the DJ's on the radio would talk a lot differently then most people hear during the day. They also gave the vibe that were all in this together at 3am and made kind of fun. You can usually turn the radio up as loud as you want on midnight shift because there aren't too many people around to complain about it. LOL.
In any case Under the Rose and Rainman I wish you both the best with a difficult situation. Since I got back to day work I have nothing but admiration for all the people that can keep it up. A lot of things that work and impact our lives during the day are because of what's done by night shift workers. I don't think many people think about that.
- Under the Rose likes this
Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:44 PM
From having worked shiftwork, you definitely have an understanding of the challenges involved, Deepwater6, and you also realize that our society is dependent on having essential services and basic conveniences available 24/7 because that is the world we live in today. It is estimated that 20% of the working population in developed countries work night shift. I am glad for you that you no longer perform shift work but I am wondering at the cause of your insomnia, which fortunately is not a condition that has ever affected me, although my mother and two of my brothers complain of it.
For myself, I work graveyards by choice because it allows me to have daylight hours year round to tend to and enjoy my horses. Once I got my head around the logistics of eating and sleeping and moved to my current work venues, I was able to appreciate the many advantages that working graveyards offers as compensation.
1. Better pay. Most graveyard jobs offer a premium so you receive more money for the same work.
2. Job security because it is not a shift that most people want.
3. One can conduct their own personal business during low traffic hours and not need time off work to keep appointments.
4. One often has more autonomy at these jobs, fewer people to report to and less people related stress.
5. For those who appreciate sunrise and sunset, more opportunities to view and photograph these occasions.
I should also mention that I am a rather introverted person and working graveyards allows me to graciously decline many social situations without question. While this is a positive for me, it is certainly a negative for those who are extroverts and enjoy socializing. In fact, the lack of a social life is what deters many from working the graveyard shift.
To get back to the topic of sleep, though, there seems to be a large segment of the population that complains of insomnia regardless of what shift they work. There is also considerable variance between individuals and the amount of sleep they require. Additionally, the amount of sleep needed tends to change over the course of our life. As we gain in years, it is suggested that we tend to sleep less, not that we necessarily require less sleep. In part, this can be caused by the brain producing less melatonin, although opinions vary on whether taking melatonin as a supplement is the best strategy. Maintaining physical activity and getting some exposure to natural light remains sound advice from what I have researched.
Like yourself, I am interested to hear what others have to share on the topic of sleep, the amount they manage to get and their sleep strategies.
Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:55 AM
The jobless, go into a similar pattern....
Me I do so much sleep, I can't tell if I have slept at all in years...
ie , the days become one, the weeks become days and the months become weeks, untill it feels like entire years are being lived out in months.
Posted 02 April 2014 - 12:42 PM
To answer your question Under the Rose I think my increased level of responsibility, and as you mentioned age, are a factor into my insomnia. The shift workers here are a part of a union. When my shift was done I went home and it was the next guys problem. It didn't matter if the place was on fire, I was to leave so the company paid no overtime. I've now moved into a managment position over the shift workers, but not a part of the union. On this side no one leaves until it's fixed. There is no "ahh we will get on Monday" on a Friday afternoon in my world anymore. I manage 5 water treatment plants that provide fire protection and other critical uses to several counties. As a result I'm on call 24/7 if there is a problem, and for some reason the problems always come at 3am. So to make my job easier I'm constantly reviewing problem areas of the plants in my mind and thinking of ways to make the system better or trouble free. I think they tell police officers not to take their job home with them and that's obviously what I'm doing and something I need to work at.
I have never heard of the Melatonin connection to sleeping issues. I will do some research and try to find out what the experts say. I do sleep better after physical activity for sure. My current job is in an office at a desk all day long so not too much activity is happening. When the weather allows I take my dogs for a long walk/run on those nights I have noticed that I sleep a little longer.
As I said in original post I have many peers around my age reporting similar issues. I often wonder if it has any connection to time seemingly passing faster as you get older.This is big with me.and I find it interesting. There was a whole thread about the subject at one time on here. as ErlyRisa said weeks fall into month's which fall into years. I am actually very conscious of this and take great notice to realize time passing because of it, but it still seems to be slipping through my fingers faster and faster..
Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:01 AM
I have to get eight twelve or more hours. But If you set your ego mind clock it works every time. Before you goto bed think about what time you want to get up and the goto sleep. Thi si called mind over matter. Paul
Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:54 AM
I remember being a teen and sleeping for 12 hours at a clip, my mother thought I was crazy. I would give my right leg for 12 hours now. Between work and kids I doubt I get normal sleep but to me non-normal sleep is something I am very used to. The only good part about working nights (when I was kid-less and younger) is that I lived in Arizona at the time and I could avoid the hot weather.
Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:29 PM
Hi Deepwater6, it seems to me that we humans have such resilience when it comes to physiological functions. I am a nocturnal animal by nature. I hardly sleep more than 4 hours each night and don't go to bed before midnight, yet in the morning I am fully awake and function normally. However, I usually compensate for my night sleep deficit by taking catnaps of 15 minutes in the afternoon.
Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:00 PM
You have a lot of responsibility Deepwater6, and I do not envy your being on call 24/7. I went through that when my first husband was in fire suppression and we were both also volunteer firefighters. Between the land line, monitoring the handheld radio and never being able to be more than 20 minutes away from responding, quality of life was surely compromised in scope. (Also had to be very cognizant of having any alcoholic beverages, so over-indulgence was not permitted, which actually probably was not a bad thing given how many people 'waste' their time and money through such nonsense.)
The awareness that life is a finite condition may well be a factor in sleeping as we age. It does make sense that in addition to the constraints of an aging body, our brains may well be contemplating 'unfinished business' and contriving ways in which we may accomplish more with less energy and time.
Sleep seems to be largely needed during periods of rapid growth and change (children and teenagers) and for body repairs. As we become more mature, we are often less active, taking fewer risks and there would be less physical need for sleep from these conditions, once rapid growth, hormones and injuries are removed from the equation. Our body also becomes less able to repair itself with time so I wonder if telomere function also plays into our sleep patterns?
Genetics would also seem to be a factor as I have one brother who has had sleep challenges since he was very young. My mother also has had sleep problems ever since she can recall.
Posted 21 April 2014 - 07:11 AM
It's such a tricky subject. My husband works shifts and his sleep pattern is messed up also. I see how difficult it is for him, but for myself it is a little different. I can sleep about 5 hours a night and function quite well, even feeling refreshed. But my habit is to take a 20 minute power nap in the middle of the afternoon. With these power naps, 5 hours a night is just about perfect for me.