a desk clacker toy but the balls are a moon, sun, clock, briefcase, and pillow showing the balance of life and insomnia

Starting a New Job With Insomnia (On 3rd Shift)

Recently I started working back at my old place of employment I served at a few years ago. This time, things are much different around. I now have a service dog, and my hours are 3rd shift. It’s been quite a shift for all of us in our little family.

I’ve worked 3rd shift in my past jobs, but I was also not dealing with the amount of insomnia, mental health issues, and physical health issues that have popped up since those 10 years ago.

My body needs time to adjust

I’ve been trying to find a rhythm and routine, but I’m only 2 weeks in and really honestly don’t know how the heck that will happen. I sleep when I can - because my body hurts. It’s going to take more than a few weeks for my chronic pain body to become accustomed to not laying down or sitting down when I can. I’m trying my best not to wear myself thin, but I know I am skating a thin line.

Less stress this holiday season

Another difficult part about starting this job when I did was that it’s around the holidays. Thankfully, since we’re mostly quarantining from everybody possible but our own little family and work family, we have no expectations this year. It’s actually less stressful, and I look forward to spending my holidays serving others in the capacity I am able to.

Settling in and planning ahead

As far as finding a routine that has helped me, my doctor has discussed possibly upping one of my sedatives if I have a problem sleeping on those nights I need sleep the most. This is my first time “going back to work” in 3 years, actually. I was very nervous and to be honest, with good reason.

Thankfully, my service dog in training is coming with me and doing public assistance work at the same time. She comes with me and is able to sleep in a bed under the desk I sit at when I have time to. She makes me feel safe and secure and makes getting back to work a little easier.

After my shift ends

As far as keeping a solid routine, as soon as I get home, I take all of my nighttime meds, close my blackout curtains, and turn on Alexa to help lull the animals and myself to sleep. There have been days where I’ve woken up hours later and thought, “Wow, that day of sleep went quick!” And then I look at the clock, and it’s only been 2 hours since I actually laid down to go to bed.

The trick is staying in bed, getting extremely comfortable with big comfy pillows and a fluffy down comforter, and letting my pup snuggle up with me. I know that it may take me a while to settle down after a hectic night, but I also realize that my body needs to be at rest.

Listening to my body

I know the physical discomfort that insomnia brings on and the compression that happens to your back when you’re up for more than 14 hours not sitting down much, if at all. It’s so important to sit down and listen to your body and take a break when you know you need one.

How have you handled your insomnia while getting used to working 3rd shift? Especially part-time?

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