Dalteparin

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2009
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Pharmacist
So I'm thinking about applying for an overnight job and wondering what it's actually like to work overnights. Not so much the workflow - I figure that's going to vary wildly from place to place - but more the effect it has on the rest of your life. Do you have enough time for your family, hobbies, exercise? Is it hard to transition back to days during your week off? Is it difficult for your family to have you sleeping during the day while they're trying to play or work? (My spouse works from home.)
 

farmadiazepine

7+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2011
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I was skinny as f*ck working overnights at CVS. The week on was spent on strictly eat, sleep, work, repeat. Multiply by 7. As soon as I came home at 6 or 7 am, I went right to bed, and didn't wake up until 5 or 6 in the evening, only to do it again. There was no life for me during the work week. No time for family, hobbies. I did exercise and go to the gym in the morning after work, but if my friend didn't go with me, I became lazy. It was very difficult to sleep during the day if my family was making noise in the house or we had people over. Also, need black out curtains in the room.

I felt like a zombie working overnights. It wasn't actually during the night, but usually the next week, especially my first few days back into daytime hours, things felt surreal, or slow, or fast, or I don't know. The best way to describe it is like I felt like I was a human, but didn't fit in with the world because my life was opposite of what everyone else was doing, and the adjustment during the off week was hard to do, and it caught up the more and more I did it.

BUT, if I get the opportunity to do nights again in a hospital with a 7 on 7 off shift, I am going to take it.
 

Pharmcat1720

7+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2011
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Pharmacist
I work 7 on 7 off nights at a hospital and I agree with everything that was said above. It feels like you're not totally there during the day but it's something you get used to. My typical day is I get off at 730am, fall asleep by 830am and wake up anywhere between 3-5pm. I workout pretty much everyday before I go into work at 9pm. I don't mind it but my wife hates it and my friends still understand why I don't respond to their texts all day even though I've been doing this for 5 years. I'm the type of person that doesn't mind not sleeping, which is good for when the weekend comes and my friends or wife wants to do something during the day then I can just wake up at around noon and do whatever. The off week takes me a few days to get my sleep adjusted, I usually wake up around 5am the first few days of my off week, which is why I pick up relief work during my off week while my wife is at work. It's definitely different but it's not too bad.
 
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PharmaSex

7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2011
92
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Pharmacist
I love working overnights...to an extent. The week working is only productive if you can control your sleep. Don't bother trying to get 8-10 hours unless you want to be nothing but a zombie that eats, sleeps, and works on the week on. If you can be good with 6 then you can do ok. I do manage do go to the gym almost everyday when I work but being able to cook a quality meal and do other chores gets to be challenging. I essentially come home after a 12 hr shift and sleep, go to the gym, eat and work another 12 for 7 straight days. The key measures are to make sure you do get exercise (as it helps you to stay awake), as well as having a game plan to eat. Don't be doing takeout or pizza for the week on as it will mess you up long term. Do something like Blue Apron or cook your meals ahead of time.
 
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WVUPharm2007

imagine sisyphus happy
15+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2003
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Born: Parkersburg, WV | Now: Montgomery TWP, PA
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I have no problems and go on lots of vacations to interesting places.
 

CYP3A4

P450
10+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2008
99
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Miami, FL
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I am naturally a night owl so doing 7on/7off has been awesome. trying to adjust to a day schedule is tough sometimes on my week off. my biggest frustration comes from friends that don't understand i live a completely opposite life from their mon-fri 9-5 schedules. i constantly have to explain why it takes me 6 hours to reply to text messages sent to me at 10am. the biggest perk is being able to plan social events and vacations since you always know your schedule. so as much as it is an inconvenience to my social life, it is also a great benefit.
 
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msweph

5+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2013
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It is also nice because you can go to dinner every night on your way to work and breakfast on your way home.
 
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pillpharmer14

pharmin' til' it's gone
Mar 17, 2015
207
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Cool to see how many people are doing overnights. I've been doing it for about 3mo and I'm loving it so far. As previous posters have mentioned, there are some keys to success that make all the difference.

1. Be disciplined about sleep. Starting your on week is easy, where most people struggle is switching back once the on week is over. You have to resist the urge to sleep for 48hours straight when you're done. Be disciplined and only sleep 5-6 hours after your last shift, get up and you're tired, but your schedule is effectively switched back.

2. Black out curtains. I know people who don't have them and I can't imagine how they ever sleep. If you get it dark enough it's pretty easy to trick your body into thinking it's night time and sleep like a baby.

3. If you want to eat healthy you have to do some short of meal prep. You don't have to bust out the scale and all, just make an effort to cook the three days leading into your on week. Make three times as much as you need each time you cook, save it, supplement with a couple pre-packaged meals and you're set.

Other things to consider are commute and 10 vs 12 hour shifts. I have no commute and 10 hour shifts, giving me plenty of time to sleep, eat, workout pretty much every day. However, 12 hour shifts plus 1 hour commute would change that quite a bit. As far as social life it's been great. You're still basically working every other weekend, the difference is your schedule is set in stone so its easy to plan, and if you come from a retail chain you'll have much more time off during the holidays.
 

3boooda

7+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2011
146
34
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Pharmacist
I started doing overnights few months ago. It is 5 on 5 off sometimes 4 on 4 off. It is depends on the store you work at. My store is realy busy even after midnight. I hear some overnight pharmacists have plenty of time to listen to music or play video games. Well , it is not in my case. I am just wondering since the holidays around the corner, is it going to be busy also?
 

BidingMyTime

Lost Shaker Of Salt
10+ Year Member
Oct 2, 2006
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I've always wondered what is the point of switching back on the off week? Why not stay on the same 3rd shift schedule? If your friends and kids are at work and school during the day, what are you missing out on?
 

panasoniku

5+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2012
88
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I travel for work so my only opinion is something I learned from higher up.

Hire someone to clean and maintain one your weeks away (or in this case, your week on). The feeling you get when come home from the end of the travel week (or workweek) and have no real chores to do is AMAZING! $100 for each cleaning my lady cleans, packages taken care of from the doorman, vacuums, dusts, mops, cleans the bathroom, and has my clothes AND bed sheets washed and pressed! Your work life will improve since you get fully rested on your time off.