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Tips for Adapting to Working Overnight

May 4, 2021 | Career Blog

For many, the typical workday lands somewhere between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm. However, millions of individuals are working hours that are referred to as “graveyard shifts” between midnight and 8 am. If you have been working “regular” workdays your whole life, working overnight may seem odd. Not everyone feels that way, though! Night owls and people in need of flexible work schedules love working overnight.

Whether it’s your decision or the only thing that works for your schedule currently, it will take a little time for you to adjust to the overnight shift. Here are some dos and don’ts for adapting to working overnight.

The Dos for The Overnight Shift

1. Take Jobs Nearby

It’s always important to consider your commute when taking a new position, especially if you’re going to be working overnight. You won’t have the bright morning sun on the way into work to wake you up, and the roads will pretty much be empty. If you’re concerned at all about feeling sleepy during your commute, make sure it’s a short one.

2. Retrain Your Body to Sleep During the Day

As an overnight shift worker, one of your top concerns should be getting adequate rest when you are home. That means knowing what you will require to achieve a sound sleep and planning efficiently. Communicate to any roommates or your spouse what your needs are and make sure they will accommodate those terms. It may also be a good idea to invest in blackout curtains and a sound machine, and anything else that you know will help you achieve a sound sleep.

3. Adjust Eating & Drinking Habits

Be thoughtful about when you ingest heavy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. It can be really tempting to drink a bunch of caffeine right at the top of your shift but remember you have an entire night to get through, and you don’t want to crash when you’re halfway there. You also want to be able to sleep well once you get home, so avoid caffeine when you are nearing the end of your shift. Try to save alcohol and really heavy foods for your days off, as they can disrupt your sleep patterns and overall energy.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You can get the fuel you need to complete an overnight shift with smart eating choices. Go for things like granola and power bars, fruit juices, smoothies, and other items that are high in protein. Lots of water and beverages high in electrolytes will allow you to maintain the levels of energy you need to power through the night.

The Dont’s for Working Overnight

1. Make Too Many Commitments

Many individuals that work the overnight shift tend to be the “do it all” types. That attitude can get you really far, but it won’t be an enjoyable ride, and you are bound to hit a hard wall. Avoid the stress by setting limits for yourself and making sure you have enough time to rest.

2. Avoid Work Events

It’s pretty common for the people working overnight shifts to miss work functions and events because of their work schedule. Try your best not to miss out on these, as they provide integral opportunities for career development and team bonding.

3. Stay Quiet When You Need Help

It may happen that you don’t have many people to turn to with questions during your shift. Don’t let that make you feel like you shouldn’t ask for help when you need it, though! After all, not saying when you need assistance can leave it looking like you dropped the ball. Some tips if you find yourself in this situation are:

  • Get to know people who work the same shifts as you so you can turn to them for help.
  • Make sure you’re aware of all of the resources available to you during your shift, including supervisors on duty and important contact info.
  • For non-emergencies, communicate items of concern to your supervisors when you do have the opportunity to connect with them, whether it be via email or phone call the next day.

4. Leave Your Personal Life Behind

So many nighttime workers spend their days sleeping and their nights working. This does not have to be your life! With a well-planned schedule, you can make time for socializing and an overall healthy work/life balance. If you work with a staffing agency, you will be in connection with many individuals who have found success in this effort. Don’t hesitate to ask other night-time workers what they do to make it work.

Ready to Start Working Overnight?

If you are interested in working overnight, Allegiance Staffing can hook you up! We have job openings in the best industries for nighttime shifts all over the US. Give us a call today to learn more.