mdjess86

Timing for very long shifts

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So I have a question, I'm on R2D9, and I'm having a similar problem this time as I did last time and I don't know what I should do. I work 28-30hr shifts at least once a week, up to 4x a week at the hospital. Sometimes I actually get some sleep, but most of the time I'm up for 90% of the night working. When this happens, I've usually followed the template for my 3 meals, doing great, but then I will get really hungry around 2-3am, but then by the time I eat breakfast during team checkout at 7 I am basically nauseated. I'm just so tired by that point I will eat my breakfast, but I don't eat very much. Then I usually go home and try to be productive but end up crashing and sleeping through lunch and by the end of the day I've only had 1 decent meal. So here's my question, should I try to eat a meal around 2-3 am, since technically it's usually about 7-9 hours since my third meal and I've been awake working for almost all that time probably 90% of my calls. And then try to eat at 7am with the team again, but then just eat dinner at night, skip lunch while I'm sleeping and then start fresh the next day? Or should I just have a larabar at 2-3 and try to force myself to eat more on post call days at the right time? I know the schedule isn't ideal for hormones in general, but I have no control over that and I'm trying to figure out the best approach. I actually will be on a new rotation next month where I only take call on weekends so that will be much easier, only having 0-2 calls a week. But I still have 7 months total over the next two years at hospitals where I take q2-5 call, so I'd like to hear opinions on the best way to time things out in this situation.

Thanks!!

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For people with longer shifts/awake time we recommend eating every 4-5 hours while you're awake, stopping a few hours before your 'bedtime'.  Larabars are not going to help you in this situation and are only approved for emergencies, of which this is not.  It might help to not call the meals by their standard names when you're on shift like this... so Meal 1, 2, 3, 4 etc... that way you're not trying to put 'lunch' in a 'lunch' spot when it doesn't actually work with your context.  Does that help?

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Ok so should I be eating another meal at 10pm-12am and then another if I've still been up the whole time at 3am-5am? Occasionally I do get to sleep like an hour before I have to get up again to do more work, but I assume that should be considered like a nap instead of actual sleep. I try to sleep less than 4 hours once I get home and then stay awake until my normal bedtime so I can actually fall asleep at night since I have to be back at work by 5am the next day

Does anyone have tips for how to eat more at meals when you aren't hungry? When I'm really tired my hunger center turns off I think and I get nauseous at most food. I can still eat but I know I'm not eating enough. Do you just have to force down as much as you can handle?

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16 minutes ago, mdjess86 said:

Ok so should I be eating another meal at 10pm-12am and then another if I've still been up the whole time at 3am-5am? Occasionally I do get to sleep like an hour before I have to get up again to do more work, but I assume that should be considered like a nap instead of actual sleep. I try to sleep less than 4 hours once I get home and then stay awake until my normal bedtime so I can actually fall asleep at night since I have to be back at work by 5am the next day

Does anyone have tips for how to eat more at meals when you aren't hungry? When I'm really tired my hunger center turns off I think and I get nauseous at most food. I can still eat but I know I'm not eating enough. Do you just have to force down as much as you can handle?

Yes, that sounds about right, altho I don't know your actual full schedule so you need to experiment on how it works best for you to be eating enough that you're not nauseous but that you're not stuffing yourself all night long... the nausea is probably from your hormones expecting to be asleep so your hormones are a bit confused.  Google 'whole30 night shifts' there are a few articles on the whole30 blog and nom nom paleo wrote one as well as she used to be a night shift worker.

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