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  • Insomnia

    Hello all,

    I've wanted to be a firefighter for a while now, and have taken up my EMT-B course as a prerequisite for Fire Academy (and I actually ended up liking it so much I'm going to go to paramedic school as well.)

    There's just something that's been bugging me a bit lately that I wanted to address.

    I sleep pretty poorly most nights, and as of late, with greater and greater frequency and deprivation. Sometimes I just can't fall asleep, other times I'll wake up in the middle of the night, occasionally I'll wake up far too early and can't get back to bed, etc. I do everything in my power to control it (no electronics before bed, noise control, deep breathing, don't go to bed hungry, get plenty of vigorous exercise, etc.) but no matter what, I remain a ridiculously light sleeper (someone closing a door downstairs is enough to wake me up).

    I want to be a firefighter badly, but I'm afraid the 24 hour shift schedule will be enough to permanently wreck my already terrible sleep patterns. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun here, since it could be years before I get a firefighting job, and maybe my sleep problems will be fixed by then, but it's a worry that lurks in the back of my mind. As much as I want to be a firefighter, I want to live a happy, healthy, well-rested life more. (More importantly, I don't want to endanger anyone by coming to work already sleep deprived and then exacerbating my fatigue)

    So I had a few questions:

    1) Does/did anyone have problems like this and still went into the Fire Service? Did you find any techniques or habits that helped you?
    2) Did anyone end up with worse off-duty sleep as a result of working in the Fire Service?
    3) Since it seems like many Paramedics in my area work 12 hour shifts, I've begin considering moving straight into purely EMS over Fire. Does anyone know the typical salary of a Paramedic in California?

    Thanks guys.

  • #2
    I'm not a firefighter yet but I'm working on it.

    I have Aspergers Syndrome (or 'Low Spectrum Autism' as it's called now) and one of the problems with that is that I have difficulty sleeping. My mind is extremely active and there will be plenty of nights where I can't sleep at all. My mind will just think from one subject to the next and I toss and turn all night.

    I have been very inactive my whole life but ever since I wanted to be a firefighter I started working out to get in shape. After I do about a four-mile run, I will sleep like a rock that night.

    You mentioned that you do vigorous exercise and that doesn't seem to help. How much exercise do you do?
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.


    • #3
      yes, no, do not know

      more then likely your sleep patterns will change once you get hired, but do not worry about it.

      if problem persists once hired see a doc and get a work up done


      • #4
        I find that sleep in the Fire House is a little more of a struggle than at home but that would be the case if I sleep anywhere away from home. I also struggle with insomnia and believe that it is related to being excited about my life and having difficulty quieting my mind. If you feel called to be a Fire Fighter go for it. It is very rewarding.


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