Shift Work Adjustment

MO12110

New Member
Joined
7 Apr 2020
Messages
1
Location
London
Hi guys,

I just registered in this forum, so hopefully I will benefit.

My question for those who are working as train driver, how do you adjust to your shift work patterns? Do you go gym 2 pm in the morning so you can easily sleep at 8pm to wake up for 4:15 am shift?

PS: I am not a train driver, but I am looking to become one in the near future.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

4F89

Member
Joined
17 Aug 2018
Messages
376
I sleep when I am tired, wake up when my alarm goes off, and kinda deal with the rest as it comes.
 

LMS 4F

Member
Joined
11 Aug 2019
Messages
206
I worked regular shifts covering 24 hours, 7 days a week, for quite long periods over my 26 year Police career. I found it much harder the older I got, especially regarding getting enough sleep.
I would sleep off nights finishing at about 6 am until 11am or thereabouts and then have a top up of a couple of hours at 6 pm if I had another night shift. Likewise after an early turn an afternoon nap often helped.
As regards eating I worked out the best for me as to eat at normal times whatever shift I was on. I didn't eat on night shift although a lot of my colleagues would seem to eat all night long.
There is no doubt shift work is bad for health in the long term although research seems to be sparse.
 

Lewlew

Member
Joined
15 Oct 2019
Messages
129
Location
London
Shift work is both mentally and physically tough. I find it's much easier for me swapping from earlies to lates etc when I get plenty of water and decent food. It's all too easy to get takeaway style food when on lates which makes me groggy and actually difficult to wake up for the earlies.

Also, being able to keep busy either before a shift on lates or after a shift on earlies is very important so having a flexible schedule outside of work makes it a lot easier.

Everyone is different, listen to your body and you'll be alright.

Oh and black out curtains are a must!
 

Red1980

Member
Joined
8 Apr 2019
Messages
296
Adjust? I don't think there's much adjusting it's a case of just sucking it in and dealing with it. as no matter how you try to adjust its never the nicest part of the job.
 

axlecounter

Member
Joined
23 Feb 2016
Messages
392
Location
Switzerland
You just kind of learn to live with it. Depending on your psychological and physical (age!) state it works better or...less better.

A key rule I try to follow is: if you’re tired, sleep. If you have spare time and don’t know what to do, sleep (messroom is fun, but an hour sleep can save the day). If you can’t sleep, already start planning ahead when you will.

Gym at 2am...sure, in your career’s first week! :lol:
 

Joliver

Member
Joined
29 Apr 2018
Messages
162
Make sure I get to bed early to be up at 2.30am. You'll never completely adjust. Once you're a couple of shifts in, you'll find it quite easy going to sleep at 8pm.
Earliest book on is 0315, latest book off is 0130
 

class 9

Member
Joined
18 Nov 2010
Messages
498
My earliest start is 0330 and my latest finish is 0200
If you’re a freight driver, shifts are variable starting & finishing at any time day or night.
Some weeks you can start off on early shift & end up on nights by the end of the week.
 

driver9000

Established Member
Joined
13 Jan 2008
Messages
3,803
Realistically what is the earliest start and latest finish you can have as a driver?
It's a 24 hour business so depending on the workload of your depot you could start and finish at any time. My depot is 24hrs starting as early as 00:30 and coming off lates at 01:45. Then we have the night turns ferrying trains to and from the depot for servicing.

This is part of the job some don't consider when deciding they want to drive trains having been blinded by the salary and 35hr average weeks. Shift work is a way of life and not everyone can adapt and cope with swinging around the clock. You have to find your own way to manage your lifestyle which isn't easy if you have children.
 

Aivilo

Member
Joined
15 Jan 2014
Messages
581
Location
Surrey
Shift work is something you never ever get used. You just make the right conscious decisions to get as good a rest as you can. Some are easier to adjust to like has been pointed out however finishing at 2am Sunday morning and having to totally reverse your body clock for a 3am book on Monday is never gonna be easy.

I firmly believe rostering shouldnt be one extreme to the other. Something like book on between Week 1 early earlies 0300-0700 week 2 late earlies 0700-1100 week 3 middles 1100-1500 week 4 late's 1500-1900 (nights were applicable)
And never go week 1 to 4 or vice versa.

Would be a dam sight easier on the body
 

Red1980

Member
Joined
8 Apr 2019
Messages
296
Yeah Gym at 2am!? Hahahah only until your body realises it's going through already with the shifts and comes to its senses lol.
 

Crazyb

Member
Joined
6 Dec 2014
Messages
87
I've had my fair share of crappy start times on the freight over 3 decades, but It's something you get used too. As I got older, I did struggle with the long distance nights and I moved to a TOC.

In my current TOC and in my link, my first turn signs on at 06:30 and my afternoons finish between 22:30 - 00:00. Happy days!!!!!

Pending what link your in, the earliest start at my depot is 5am....
 

387star

On Moderation
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
5,892
I will be doing permanent lates soon can't stand earlies. Love a lie in ! Most prefer earlies

Thameslink didn't allow shift swaps as the roster system made it impossible but I swapped super earlies easily then moved depots to a place with cushy start times . I've since moved depots again. Definitely pays long term to be at a dead mans retirement depot.
 

Undiscovered

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2013
Messages
115
Yeah, you don't really adjust to shifts, more like accept them. It is part of the job.
The first early shift you do, you won't sleep the night before, no matter when you try to settle down and for your first late, you'll mess about all day and then go to work and be knackered. It is the way of things.

Be aware how long you're up. I used to quite easily be up at 0300, book on 0430, home 1300, kids at 1500, tea, bath/bedtimes and before you know it it's 2000 and I've done a 17hr day with another 0300 up.
Likewise on lates, I'd do school run in morning, odd jobs around house, mow lawn, walk dog, book on 1600 and I'm knackered with a 9hr shift just starting.
You'll soon find your own pattern to things and it is all about self discipline.

Also, remember that your rest days are your weekend, even if it's Wednesday and Thursday, so put your feet up!
 

Stigy

Established Member
Joined
6 Nov 2009
Messages
3,448
I find a catnap is good to recharge the batteries if I get chance. Between 20 and 30 minutes usually, as any more leave me feeling groggy. I believe this is recommended mid-shift too (whilst on a break obviously ;)) but I've never been able to sleep at work that easily.
 
Joined
4 Apr 2020
Messages
15
Location
Lancs
Shift work is something you never ever get used. You just make the right conscious decisions to get as good a rest as you can. Some are easier to adjust to like has been pointed out however finishing at 2am Sunday morning and having to totally reverse your body clock for a 3am book on Monday is never gonna be easy.

I firmly believe rostering shouldnt be one extreme to the other. Something like book on between Week 1 early earlies 0300-0700 week 2 late earlies 0700-1100 week 3 middles 1100-1500 week 4 late's 1500-1900 (nights were applicable)
And never go week 1 to 4 or vice versa.

Would be a dam sight easier on the body
There is a lot of sense in this post. I haven't worked extreme varying shifts, I don't yet work on the railway, but to me shifts are something you just have to do your best to get well rested for.

A mindset thing I find is to remind oneself of the extra money earned due to the role (or shift premium), so extra time spent trying to get well rested in bed, or really needing to have a lie-in on the first rest-day in a while is compensated for.
A lot of the railway jobs have standard hours which are less than in most other industries so on average each month there should be time to spend like this without feeling it is wasted.
 

Top