I'm about half way through my current block of night shifts and I'm learning that night shifts are definitely not something I want to do on a long term basis.
For five nights a week, I work just under 14 hours. This leaves me with 10 hours to commute, sleep, shower, and complete any required daily activities. The lack of free time isn't really a concern right now--it's more of the sleeping schedules. Once my shift ends, I mentally shut down. All I can think about is getting a couple hours of sleep. Unfortunately, it's made driving home a little difficult. I've started listening and singing show tunes as I drive home in the morning so I'm more alert. I'm not going to lie--it's been a little scary some mornings.
Along with the sleeping, my meal schedules stink. I feel like my body has mostly adjusted to staying up all night and sleeping during the day, but there are still some moments where I find myself eating to stay awake. Not good.
Exercise has also taken a major back burner. Unfortunately, my knee pain has been pretty bad. I know a large part of it is I've dropped off doing my prescribed knee exercises and tried other work outs. Last week I didn't work out at all though. Now just with nights, but residency in general, I have to make time for work outs and my knee exercises. I know I prescribe physical therapy to my patients, and I know it's beneficial, but it definitely can be annoying when it's needed for such a long term basis. I'm almost at the point where I feel like I'm never going to not have to do my knee exercises.
Now here's the major kicker--I hardly get to see my husband! Joe's started training for a new job and our schedules will not cross paths until Friday night :( So, for those who work nights on a regular basis so people like me don't have to, thank you!