a sun and a moon being frustrated by an alarm clock

Husband Working 9 to 5 Would Make Living With OSA Easier

I have spoken about some of the challenges I face living with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia. I haven’t really spoken much about how my husband's shift work affects things.

My husband works a job that rotates all staff between three different shifts: morning shift 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM, afternoon shift 3:00 PM - 11:00 PM, and graveyard 11:00 PM - 7:00 AM. Only one department doesn’t have to do that, but they work 4 days in a row, doing 12 hours each day.

My partner's work schedule and my obstructive sleep apnea

On average, it’s supposed to be 2 weeks of a set shift before switching. For example: 2 weeks of the morning shift, then 2 weeks of the afternoon, followed by 2 weeks of graveyard rotation. Sometimes, it's longer between a change.

I even remember one time when he was stuck on graveyard rotation for almost 2 months. Thankfully, because of Covid, they haven’t been running a graveyard shift so my husband has only been doing morning and afternoon shifts.

Changes in shift work

Before my OSA diagnosis, his shift work didn’t really bother me that much. In fact, his first time having to do a graveyard shift, I kept the same hours as he. I slept during the day when he would, and then be up all night. That way we could spend more time together.

Aside from doctors' appointments, I didn’t have anything going on, so it was really easy to do. I don’t sleep that well when he isn’t home, so I really hate the graveyard shift for that reason. Plus, I really like being awake at night and sleeping during the day.

Even though I live in a tiny town with hardly any nightlife, I like it because of the peace and quiet. I ended up doing that for a couple of the graveyard shifts he had to do. Eventually, I stopped staying awake at night because my husband was worried about it impacting my sleep. Little did he know, that I had OSA and insomnia at that point.

My need for sleep routine

After the diagnosis, I was told the only way to deal with the fact I have OSA (so far) is to follow a sleep routine. That includes having a set wake-up time and a set bedtime. I am supposed to use an alarm clock to wake me up at the same time every day. Unless my husband is working the morning shift, this disturbs his sleep – often leading to him not being able to fall back asleep.

As he already suffers pretty bad from insomnia, I definitely have avoided using an alarm clock to wake up. Thankfully, having a set bedtime is a lot easier to accomplish despite my husband’s work schedule. Even when he is on the morning shift, I go to sleep before he does.

Last year I started experiencing extreme fatigue after dinner. Two hours after eating food, I struggle to stay awake. This has made following the nighttime sleep routine challenging. It’s now at a point where it seems like by 6:30 PM, I am struggling to fall asleep. So, it’s a bit easier to adjust my nighttime sleep routine.

My husband won’t be at this job forever and I am really hoping that his next job has set hours that never change. Something like 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday to Friday. That way, both of us can sleep better every night.

P.S. Bonus points if you thought of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” song.

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