Working the night shift after years of typical, sunlit work can be a huge adjustment.
Instead of rising with the sun, you might end up waking up closer to sunset. However, working the night shift isn’t all that bad, and you can still stay happy and healthy while doing it.
Ease Into the Schedule
As with most habits, it takes time for you to adjust to new things. If you know you’re going to start a job where you’re working at night, slowly adjust your schedule leading up to your first day.
Get used to staying up a little later each night and going to bed closer to morning. Jumping right into the new routine will throw your body off, making your tired and irritated during your shift.
Get Enough Sleep
The most important thing to remember when you’re working the night shift is to still get a solid eight hours of shut-eye. It quite literally goes against human nature to sleep during the day, so it’s important to prep your body before rest.
Try to go to bed at the same time every day, even on your days off, so your body can get used to the nighttime schedule. Additionally, block out any light sources — get thick curtains to block the sunlight in your bedroom, turn off any lights and eliminate your exposure to blue light at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Keeping your body in good shape will make the night shifts easier for you. Exercise helps boost your energy, keeping you more alert and awake. If you need to, consider joining a 24 hour gym so you can exercise when it’s convenient for you.
Additionally, you’ll feel better with a healthy routine. Pack healthy snacks to munch on during your shift — apples, carrots or granola bars can be good portable snacks that help keep your energy up.
Stay Around Light Sources When You’re Awake
When you’re working the night shift, stay in well-lit places whenever possible. We are naturally more alert when there’s a light source. Even if you’re working, the lights in your work space should be bright enough to keep you feeling awake. If not, consider approaching your boss and suggesting a few more light sources for late-night employees like yourself.
Avoid Caffeinated Drinks
We’re blessed to live in a world where you can get extra energy from just about any vending machine in sight. However, chugging coffee or soda will just make it more difficult for you to get the sleep you need if you work the night shift. Instead of reaching for the coffee, pop a stick of mint gum in your mouth — the chewing motion increases the blood flow, while the mint acts as a stimulant.
Have a Solid Support System
It’s important to have people in your life who understand that your work schedule doesn’t necessarily sync up with their own. Your friends and family should be understanding of your job.
If they try to pester you because you’re “sleeping the day away,” remind them that for you, the day is when you catch up on your sleep before work.
Working third shift does not mean you’ll be constantly tired and irritated.
Keeping your body and mind healthy is the key to being happy when you’re on a night shift schedule. If your body is in good shape and you’re taking care of yourself mentally, you will be able to get much more joy from your job.