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Who Works the Night Shift?
Surviving the Night
Talk About It

Night Shift Diary
Betsy Bayha, associate producer

January 30 & February 1, 2000-St. Cloud, Minnesota

Thoughts on staying up all night.

Working a night shift I developed a lot of respect for the people who have to do it night after night. It has a huge impact on so many areas of your life -- time with your family, social time, and just getting enough sleep so you can stay up for the shift.

I decided to bring a bunch of different "keep you awake" substances for the crew, like the drink Red Bull which has lots of caffeine, glucose, amino acids, and minerals in it. My hairdresser swears by it. I also found a homeopathic remedy in the health food store called "No Shift Lag", which has a lot of herbs in it and is supposed to keep you perky through the night.

In the end, though, we all just relied on really strong coffee to pull us through. It worked so well that we decided to forgo our early morning sleep break and just head back to the airport for an earlier flight home. On the plane, I was over-tired and couldn't get to sleep if I wanted to. By the time we landed I had been up for about 36 hours with only minimal rest.

Strange things happen without enough sleep. For example, numbers can become extremely confusing. When we landed at the airport, it took us about 20 minutes to figure out that we hadn't lost a bag in transit. Counting up the seven bags and matching them to the seven claim tickets was too complex.

I'd work a night shift again, but it is definitely not my first choice of when to go to work.

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