Hi this is my first post but I wanted to know if anyone could shed some light on my situation.
I've been working nights on a Monday (10pm - 7am) for almost a year now. This wouldn't be a big issue if it wasn't for the fact that I also work early and twilight shifts on other days too. Because of this my sleeping pattern has been absolutely broken for nearly a year now and I fear it's having both physical and psychological effects on me. Just last week I was covering a colleague's holiday hours which involved me working 10pm - 7am from Monday night through Friday night. This has really put the icing on the cake as I am unable to sleep in the day now despite the fact that I need to be at work around 10am some days and 2pm on others. I will usually start to feel a little tired around midnight when I'm not working nights and I will usually try sleeping when I feel tired like that but almost always I wake up around 2 or 3am unable to sleep again until around 7 or 8 when I normally finish on a night shift. This has been causing me major issues at work as I can't function properly, especially in my monotonous line of work. I have seriously considered calling in sick many times but I can't afford any time off work due to low pay.
This vicious cycle I am stuck in is causing absolute loss of sleep as far as I'm concerned but not only that I am also suffering in terms of my social life. My girlfriend and I moved in together last month and since then we've not seen a great deal of each other because I'm working all sorts of hours (which can't be helped) but I'm usually sleeping when she's awake and vice-versa because of my broken sleeping pattern. This in turn is making me feel incredibly low almost all of the time. I barely have a moment where I do feel happy about anything and I feel that it is getting worse. My diet has also been affected by this routine. Some days I will eat like a complete pig and others I won't eat at all. I have had a complete loss of apatite to the point where eating food often makes me feel physically sick in my stomach but at the same time there will be other days where I cannot sate my hunger.
I have tried speaking to my boss about this and I've tried to drop my night shift in exchange for an early or twilight shift but she has not been very receptive about it as there is "no cover" for the Monday night shift and when the guy that does the rest of the week on night shifts goes on holiday it falls to me by default to cover his holiday hours. Like I mentioned previously this completely ruins me for weeks afterwards. I don't know if there is anything I can do to change the shifts that I have at this point in time which is why I am writing here to see if there is any sort of medical advice I can be given in order to cope better with this situation. I am planning on seeing my GP (depending on appointment availability) in the coming weeks to discuss with him but I wanted to get more than just one opinion on the matter.
Sorry for the very lengthy post but I didn't want to leave any information out. Thank you for reading.