Posts Tagged 'Overnight'

August 24, 2010

Sippin Syrup

Here on the SoftLayer overnight shift (aka "team undead"), the technicians (aka "SLombies") often find it difficult to get a full 8 hours of sleep.
Quick science lesson: the body produces melatonin when it is dark outside. This regulates the sleep cycle. So it's only natural that it is hard to sleep during the day.

Initially I had been drinking a beer or five to go to bed every morning. Since I don't want to have liver failure at age 43, I decided to check out some alternatives. I used Unisom Sleep Tabs for a while, but I have been looking for substitutes, since they are essentially the sleep inducing antihistamine contained in NyQuil. The warning on the box says not to consume any alcoholic beverage with these, and it doesn't recommend long term usage of the drug.

The new alternative: relaxation beverages
A relaxation beverage is the polar opposite of an energy drink. It is designed to calm and slow you down. They have ingredients such as: kava kava, valerian root, and melatonin. I have tried two different brands: Drank and Sippin Syrup. These are both references to the "purple stuff" drug that is created by mixing codeine and sprite. There is also a Purple Stuff brand (codeine free, of course), but I have not had an opportunity to try this yet. You can get it on Amazon:

You'll often find Drank at a 7-11, but sadly the 7-11 near me stopped carrying it. It has a grape soda flavor, and it certainly lacks the medicinal taste of most energy drinks. It is in a standard 16oz energy drink sized can. It will knock you out pretty easily. You can buy it by the case from the website:

Sippin Syrup
This one is my favorite. It's effectiveness is very similar to Drank. The best part about this one is that it comes in a resealable container, so you can have just half a dose if you are already tired. It comes in 3 flavors: Purple (grape), Kandy (cream soda), and Griptonite (grape apple flavor). There is also a low carb version called Sippin Syrup Zero, which doesn't really interest me personally. They make a concentrated shot version called a Lil Sip. When I ordered, they were nice enough to send me a free T-shirt as well. You can order it by the case (12 or 24 packs) from their website:

I have been getting much better sleep these days! I highly recommend either of these products.


April 12, 2010


Here at SoftLayer each shift is divided into a 9 hour crew. There’s the day shift, the evening shift, and the overnight crew. Each shift has perks and drawbacks as well as little idiosyncrasies that you won’t find on the other shifts. Each crew is as hard working and knowledgeable as the next, however each crew has certain hurdles to jump over in order to keep the data center running in top form. There’s one team – dubbed the SLombies, which have been assigned to man the datacenter in the wee hours of the morning.

Being on the overnight crew requires a certain degree of dedication not found in other types of work. Aside from the obvious (sleeping during sunlight hours, getting calls from friends while sleeping, etc), the SLombies require an additional degree of dedication. While much of the world sleeps we’re wide awake (thank you caffeine) and kicking butt in the DC. Anyone from the overnight crew can tell you it’s not easy and we often have to add titles to our work description. While the hours aren’t the most desirable, certain things make working overnight worthwhile. Our crew is one of the most tight-knit groups of individuals I’ve ever worked with. The talent on this shift is beyond belief and when tough issues come along we all put our heads together to make sure the problems are solved quickly, efficiently, and correctly. Working in such an environment breeds loyalty to your crew, and because of that, we have each others’ backs.

While working overnight can be costly on the body there are always certain advantages to any shift. While most businesses close after normal work hours, we’re able to run errands after work before we’re required to call it a day. It takes some getting used to but the rewards of working with such a hard working and dedicated team goes beyond lack of sleep and weird hours. For those of you in the continental US rest easy knowing that SLombies are working hard to keep the datacenter running smoothly and to answer any questions that may keep you awake at night.

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