DEAR ABBY: I work a night-shift job, as does my sister-in-law, who lives in my home. People who don't work nights cannot seem to understand the need for us to get our sleep during the day. They frequently call at noon, wondering why we're not up yet.
These people need to know that noon is just like midnight for people who work the day shift. Many nights I go to work on less than four hours of sleep, mainly because if people can't reach me on the house phone, they'll call my cell phone, which is the emergency number for my husband and kids.
My answering machine clearly states that I "work nights and sleep days, so please leave a message and I'll return the call."
Your column is widely read, and I'm certain that a good number of other night-shift workers would appreciate it if you could spread the word: Those of us who work nights need the same amount of sleep that people who work days do. -- SLEEPLESS IN MISSOURI
DEAR SLEEPLESS: I'm pleased to help spread the word. For callers to bypass your answering machine and use your cell phone number is rude, inconsiderate, and could endanger your health. Sleep deprivation can cause memory and concentration problems, accidents and mistakes at work, increase blood pressure, and even compromise the immune system. In the interests of self-preservation, change your cell phone number, and instruct your husband and kids not to disclose it to anyone.