There are 5 of us who rotate through the 3 shifts in the lab where I work. I was amazed (and horrified) when everyone warned me that I would get 3-5 hrs of sleep when I was working overnights. This is not acceptable. I am the type of person who needs 8 hours of sleep per night. I can get by with 6 or 7 but by the end of the week I'm dragging. There is NO WAY I can function getting 4 hours of sleep a night. There is no way that I would be able to do a good job at work, much less get in quality workouts on that much lack of sleep. Last week I was freaking out about it.. worrying that I was going to lose practically 2 weeks out of every month of workouts due to pure exhaustion.
So I make sure that I try my best to get a full "night's" sleep. I do this by going to bed immediately when I get home (after I eat something), turning my cell phone on silent, turning on a fan, blocking the light from my window, and wearing one of those dorky eye masks. I also have earplugs if it's loud outside. I feed the cat and so far she has not been annoying at all (she sometimes is when I try to sleep past 6 am - she crawls all over me because she thinks I should be awake!).
I made getting sleep a priority. Sleep is so important to many many things - stress levels, weight, general health, plus things like mood.. they are all affected by sleep. I know that working these overnight shifts probably isn't the healthiest thing in the world but I am going to try to combat that by getting my proper hours of shut-eye. I know the other people at work think I'm crazy for getting all this sleep but I don't understand how they can NOT do that. I'm as busy or busier than all of them and I still make time to sleep. It's nothing to skimp on!