Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Advantage of Being Horizontal

Another entry from the “blog ideas” vault which was never posted. I wrote this a few months ago when I was still able to run and what used to help me recover somewhat from the pain in my ankles. Unfortunately this technique has stopped working and no amount of being horizontal has helped.
Working 12 hour shifts, plus the time driving to and coming from work has taken a toll on my ankles. At least, that’s my belief. My ankle problems started to develop about the time we switched from 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts. Even though I had to work more days in a row with the 8 hour shifts, my joints, muscles and body as a whole got more rest because it was able to settle into a routine of waking, sleeping, and exercising. This is particularly more important when you are working the graveyard shift, where you sleep in the daytime and work at night.
                This used to be my routine with the 8 hour shifts: work from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., go to sleep from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., run from 3 to 4 p.m., shower, dinner, and TV from 5 to 8 p.m., nap from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., then get ready and leave for work at 11 p.m. My body adjusted and rested pretty well with that routine because I worked 3 to 4 nights in a row.
With the 12 hour shifts, this is how it went: Leave for work at 6:30 p.m., work from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. the next day, go home and sleep from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., exercise from 2 to 3 p.m., dinner at 3:30, then try to take a nap from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Repeat for two days.
I do not work more than two days in a row so that disrupts my sleeping and waking patterns a lot. After trying to sleep in the daytime for two days, I have to switch to sleeping at night time during my days off which is usually three days, then it was back to the daytime sleep. I find myself just hanging in there when working 12 hour shifts for two days and the long hours of staying upright contribute to lesser recovery for my joints. For those two days of working, I don’t get enough sleep and rest.
Even though I exercise every day, much can be said about the time I spend staying horizontal. The position relieves the stresses on my joints, particularly the ankles. With the 12 hour shifts, I tend to stay vertical longer than I did when working 8 hour shifts. When I am able to sleep 7 to 8 hours at night during my days off, my ankle joints seem to recover better than when I am only able to sleep 3 to 4 hours in the daytime when I’m working.
Unfortunately, there are hardly any more 8 hour shift psych hospital jobs and with the current high unemployment rate, it would be difficult to find one and switch anyway. 
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