Working late nights is not for the faint of heart. You are among the very few, who live a life on the opposite end of the normal professionals. When the sun goes down, their day is ending while yours is just beginning. When they feel tired, you’re fresh and ready to go do a full 8-hours at work. You may get used to the routine, but mentally and physically, you will constantly be challenged. The dark driving conditions will be something you have to prepare your mind for. The quiet office and or workstation is also something you will need to become accustomed to. On top of this, your eating habits will change and human beings are known to not take as much care of their diet when it’s nighttime. You will also need to exercise self-restraint in several factors. Here is how you can take on any challenge that working nights presents you with.

Act like it’s morning

If your shift begins at 11 pm, you should get up at the same sort of schedule you normally would in the morning. If you would normally set your alarm for one and a half hours ahead of your shift start time, then do the same for nights. Get up at 9:30 pm and do your normal routine. Brush your teeth, put some morning music or radio on and take a shower. Eat your breakfast and get dressed in time to leave.

However, you will need to make a packed lunch as 99% of food outlets will be shut by the time you take your break. You will normally have the roads and highways completely to yourself, bar a few other night shift workers. But don’t take this for granted, especially around holidays. Set off with enough time to drive carefully to work. Remember to breathe and grab a cup of coffee to wake your body up. The night sky will try to fool your body into going back to sleep, so expect to yawn a couple of times on the way to work, even though you’re fully rested.

Keeping sharp at work

As aforementioned, you’re constantly fighting your body’s desire to go to sleep. This is natural but eventually, you will get over it as your internal body clock adjusts to the new work schedule. However, when you’ve just begun working nights, it can seem quite tough and far from a given. So here’s how you can be more alert at work, even though the majority of your shift will be in the early hours of the day. 

  • If you’re feeling sleepy at work, open up a window and allow the cool air to circulate your office. 
  • Eat healthy foods and avoid cheap, easy options such as ready-meals.
  • Go outside for a minute and take slow calming breaths of the cool midnight air. 
  • Grab yourself a cup of coffee at work from the kitchen, or bring coffee with you in a flask.
  • Stretch your body. Toxins are usually expelled from our bodies on our very first trip to the bathroom when we wake up from a deep sleep. However, if your body is still adjusting to the hours and time of night, then stretching will help clear the toxins and lactic acid from your muscles. It will also improve circulation so your body receives freshly oxygenated red blood cells. 
  • Speak aloud. If you’re typing an email or a report but you find your eyes closing by themselves, you should start to speak out loud whatever it is you’re typing. This will keep your mind focussed on what you’re doing and alert your cognitive brain to align thoughts and actions.

Refrain from lapsing judgment

Working nights is a different way of exercising your profession. It’s a strange atmosphere if you’re one of the few people working during the night. Your office may be at less than half capacity. Your warehouse might be less than one-third capacity. It’s quite common for night workers to feel as if they’re not under the same scrutiny as daylight workers as they’re largely alone and left unsupervised most of the time. This does not mean you should have a lapse in judgment. Don’t think you’re just ‘relaxing’ at work as this can lead to some very bad habits. It can lead to drinking alcohol at work. Many people are out partying while you’re at work, which can make you feel jealous. But don’t go off to grab a few bottles or bring any to work.

Remember you’re driving home very early in the morning, probably before dusk. If you are pulled over by a police officer, you will risk your livelihood. However, you do have options at jasonkatims.com who is a seasoned criminal defense attorney. They will handle your DWI case, in a bid to either lower the sentence, lessen the charges and or allow you to get some extra help while continuing with your normal life. In a case where jail time is unavoidable, you might be able to take a SWAP or Sheriff’s Weekend Alternative Program. But just avoid feeling left out of the partying altogether and remain responsible for your livelihood. 

Take care of your mind

Night shifts aren’t for everyone. You should never feel like you have to work nights just because your boss says so. You have workers’ rights which you can and should exercise. If you feel as if your mental health is suffering by working so late and in this particular atmosphere, then you need to speak up and demand to be given daylight hour work instead. 

Always take care of your mental health before anything. Nighttime shifts are increasingly becoming easier as the world transforms into a 24-hour global economy, but if you feel your social life is suffering and all you do is work and sleep, then get off the night shift rata as soon as you can by speaking with your manager.

Working nights is tough for many reasons. One of them is simply getting to work on time. But treat it as if it’s your morning, do the same routine you would for a dawn wake up alarm. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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