Staying up all night...
it's cool when you're a kid, a rite of passage to be able to stay awake til morning at the sleepover party.
it's no big deal when you're in college, having to pull an all-nighter to study for that final exam.
it's a necessary evil when you're a new mom, getting up all night long with your new baby for feedings and diaper changes and lullabies.
it's a due you have to pay as a new nurse, working the shift that no one else wants.
Being a part of the "night-shift club" at the hospital was something I never thought I would enjoy. The disturbance to my Circadian rhythm, working from 7pm to 7:30am then driving my tired self home to attempt to sleep while the sun was shining did not sound appealing, but the $4/hour shift differential helped ease the pain when I was young. Every single night was a struggle back then (I was twenty years old), and I often dreamed of "graduating" to day shift.
After several years, I finally achieved that goal. I worked a few day shifts, then quickly realized that night shift suited my life much more. Sounds crazy, but here's why:
When I worked days, I left my house before the kids woke up. I didn't get home until 8 or 8:30pm (on a good day), and they were getting ready for bed at that point. Yes, we got to be in the same house while we were sleeping, but I missed an entire day of their lives. Not worth it.
When I worked days, I missed my "night shift peeps" so much! There is a camaraderie on nights that you just don't find on days. Having to rely on each other in a crisis because there are fewer staff around, bonding over coffee during the witching hour of 3am, going out for breakfast in the morning to decompress after a particularly bad night...these were things I just didn't experience when working that "normal" shift.
Last night, during the 3am witching hour when our bodies told us to sleep but our bosses said we couldn't, some of my fellow night shift nurses and I discussed this night shift debate. Is it worth it to leave the extra pay and the great people, just to get a full nights' sleep? Most all of us (the moms, especially) answered a resounding NO.
I may be crazy, but I think I just may be a night-shifter for life.
What about you? Ever pulled an all-nighter? Worked the "graveyard shift"? What would you give up for a full nights' sleep?