I never knew what exhaustion was until this weekend. I had four shifts rostered over a short period of time (less than 48 hours) - Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning & afternoon, and super early monday. And 3 of those shifts were extended with no warning because of delays, cancellations and sick workmates. I was so exhausted that the only reason I went on Monday was because I thought it would only be for four hours, unfortunately someone called in sick so I was asked to extend my hours. Initially I did not want to (at all) I felt like a zombie, my eyes were heavy and sore, I couldn't think properly, and trying to deal with people seemed like too massive an effort to do anything. I have never been so tired in my life.
On top of the excessive number of shifts was my weird insomnia, which pops up on an occasional basis. It shows up on a random basis, and I have not been able to figure out a reason for it, though I have many theories, including magnesium deficiency, or stress but it is usually that I will go to sleep with no problem and then wake up in the early hours of morning, tired, but unable to return to sleep. I have tried lavender oil (that helped somewhat - I still woke early but felt more rested when I had to get out of bed and less zombie-like), as well as magnesium spray, exercise during the day, cutting out chocolate, not much helped.
According to the Chinese body clock, 1-3am is the time for the liver to be most active, and 3-5am is the time for the lungs. I'm not sure if I'm awake because my liver has an excessive amount of work to do - but you would think in that case that my body would most likely want me unconscious, not awake and fidgety.
Saturday night I went to bed at 9pm as I had to get up at 5am - this should have given me a lovely 8 hours sleep, except that I woke up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep for 3 hours. And no point trying to have a nap during the day - well I did try it, I couldn't sleep. It was only slightly restful, probably because I had set my alarm for 30 minutes before I had to get up and go again. So the second night I decided to go to bed at 7pm, in the hopes that even if I woke at 2am, I would still have had 7 good hours sleep. However, when I woke up and checked the time it was only 11:40pm and I was awake the rest of the night until 3:30am when my alarm went off.
I'm still exhausted even though its Tuesday. I went to bed at 8pm last night and woke at 1:30pm, but surprisingly felt much better than yesterday. I still had to get up at 4am for work though. I was complaining to people about it at work, but some of my workmates also have crazy numbers of early shifts and late shifts, so there is very little sympathy, but at least they all get it. It did turn into a little bit of a "Who's got it harder" session though. I truly believe this is the reason why there is so much sickness going around at the moment - because people are not coping with the insanity of so many mixed up shifts.
It used to be that you would have a few early shifts, then a few late shifts, then days off. But lately its more like 7 earlies 1 late, or early, late, early, early, late, late, early. Or what I had over the weekend, late shift, then a split shift, then a super early shift, followed by two more very early long shifts - that doesn't help either - coz you just can't get proper rest because you have to get up early the next morning as well. I really hope the next roster is better than this one, because I feel like I'm dying right now.