How to Survive Night Shifts at Work?

2,274 Views Updated: 02 Feb 2021
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How to Survive Night Shifts at Work?

With the advent of globalization and an increasing number of multinational companies paving their ways across countries, the work culture in the county has been on a constant change. Today, a significant number of employees work on night shifts. Working in night shifts might be a bit challenging for employees in the initial years. If you are an employee working in night shifts, chances are that the normal rules for maintaining work-life balance do not work for you. The night shifts which usually refers to working hours between 7:00 pm to 6:00 am may take a toll on your mental health and cause strain. Moreover, night shifts also bring greater physical strength and may lead to dehydration, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. Another threatening consequence of working on night shifts is an alteration in circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm refers to the wake-sleep cycle which affects your digestion, hunger, and levels of stress. One may also suffer from sleep deprivation if working in night shifts.

Night shifts also have a deep impact on one's personal life. An employee working in night shifts often faces social isolation as he/she is unable to meet and make plans with friends. Sometimes, it is even difficult to take out time for one's own family. The situation becomes worse if one has kids as it is nearly impossible to take out sufficient time to spend with them. Studies have also revealed that the employees working in night shifts have much higher levels of stress than those working in day hours. Even if you manage to sleep eight hours a day, it won't be as satisfying as sleeping for lesser hours at night. Moreover, it is a bit difficult to get a proper sleep during the daytime as the body is not accustomed to it and other people in the house might be awake, busy with their daily tasks which can cause disturbance and restlessness.

Despite the number of health risks such as sleep disorders, heart diseases, fatigue, metabolic syndrome, etc. associated with it, night shifts have become an integral part of the work culture. One has to go against the natural sleep cycle and perform their work like a professional. As per a research reported to American Psychological Association by Rush University, a team of researchers and doctors have claimed that it is possible to shift the circadian clock or the internal rhythm of the body. This makes it possible to sleep during the day and work at night. They also recommended that the work shifts have less or no effect on the productivity and progress in the work.

The employees working in night shifts usually get paid higher than those working for day hours. Moreover, they are also spared from the usual day-traffic and the hassle of city-life and can work in their offices in a silent atmosphere. Night shifts are therefore a lucrative option for people who are willing to spend their night hours in offices. Let us explore the ways by which you can survive night shifts in your office like a pro.

How To Survive Night Shifts At Work?

#1. Chalk Out A Proper Sleep Schedule

For employees working in night shifts, it is extremely important to maintain a proper sleep schedule and ensuring that the sleep is restorative. One should understand that your body might take some time to adjust to the changing sleeping cycles but after a point of time, it will get accustomed to the change and start adjusting accordingly. Sometimes, employees working in night shifts work overnight and then do not sleep for sufficient amount of time during the day. However, it is important to realize that this can have a negative impact on one's body as a minimum of 8 hours sleep is mandatory for any human being. A proper sleep is required to stay charged up and maintain a good work-life balance. It should be noted that one can excel in work performance and do well only if he/she has the energy to do so. If one is sleep deprived, the fatigue and loss of energy will haunt you throughout the day, and you will not be able to concentrate on your work as much as you can. Thus, a healthy sleep and a proper sleeping schedule are advisable for those working in night shifts. 

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#2. Avoid The Hurdles

Sleeping in the daytime might be a bit difficult due to the presence of a number of hurdles. The other people in the family might be present during the daytime, and most of them would be busy in their daily activities. This might cause disturbance and one may find it difficult to realize. But an employee working in night shift needs to realize that no matter what, it is mandatory to get a sound sleep. You should try and make your family understand this fact, so that they may not create noise while you are trying to sleep. These days, most of the people have the habit of staring at mobile or laptop screens before going to sleep. Not only these things act as a distraction for you, but they may also lead to distorted sleep. Instead of this, one can try reading some book and listen to light music as these help in a sound sleep.  

#3. Stay Hydrated

Doctors suggest that there is a link between being hydrated and cognitive performance. A sufficient amount of water intake suggests a good cognitive performance. Everyone is aware of the importance of water. It is required not only for the proper functioning of the body but also to stay charged and refreshed to perform that job in the office well. It is necessary to stay hydrated during the night shift. If one is sleep deprived, then consuming a good quantity of water can help you go that extra mile and perform your role well. One should keep a track of one's water intake and drink sufficient quantity for higher energy levels during night shifts.

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#4. Eat Healthy 

It is easier to fall into the trap of unhealthy eating when you are a night-worker. An employee working in night shift should realize that he/she has the entire day to plan meals and can eat healthy food instead of having quick bytes. Experts recommend that one should include three meals a day in one's diet. It is also advised to avoid eating a heavy meal before going to bed. Maintaining a proper diet plan is important for night workers as they are more vulnerable to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases. In such cases, one should eat a balanced and healthy diet to avoid any kind of digestion and heart related problems which are more common in night workers.

#5. Exercise 

In order to get a more peaceful and sound sleep, one can try and go to the gym during the day. Regular exercises can be very helpful for the night workers as it will help them get a better and sound sleep during the daytime. The toll that night shift can take on one's health should surely be enough for your motivation to get up and push yourself to hit the gym. If one does not get time for gymming, then one can try and do some yoga exercise. There are some specific yoga exercises which help one to get a sound sleep in a better way. Moreover, there are many exercise hacks that one can perform anytime and anywhere to stay charged up.

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#6. Keep A Track Of Your Social Life

If you are a night worker, chances are that you are loosing out many valuable relationships and friends in your life as you do not have the time to go and meet them. As most of them are day workers, you just find it impossible to establish a connection with them on a regular basis as you need to take rest and sleep during the daytime and work overnight. In such cases, one should try to manage one's schedule in a way that he/she can take out time for family and friends. These relationships are very important for a person to ensure proper nourishment of one's social life. Try and spend those weekends with your friends, go out and grab that cup of coffee with endless conversations.  

#7. Sleep In A Dark Room

Despite persistent efforts of trying to get a sound sleep, you often lay awake. The solution to this problem might be getting dark curtains for your room, turning those lights off and creating an ambiance as if it is night outside. Sleeping in a dark room can actually be very helpful for the night workers to enhance a good sleep.

#8. Avoid Excess Of Caffeine

If you are one of those who grabs that cup of coffee time and again to stay alert during job, then chances are that you might not be able to sleep during the critical rest hours after your shift is over. Though, caffeine is a great tool to stimulate alertness during work but it produces some negative consequences with it that you might not be aware of. It is recommended that the intake of coffee during office hours should be under 3 cups. Night workers are more prone to getting an addiction to caffeine as their consumption is quite higher than those working in day shifts. Thus, it is advised to keep the intake of caffeine as low as possible. 

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Did you find this article informative and interesting? Want to read more such stuff? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Image Courtesy: 1. Infinity Plan, 2. Shutterstock, 3. Blissful, 4. ABC, 5. Eat this; Drweil (Featured Image)

In my previous job, I was required to do frequent night shifts. The problem was more aggravated for me as they used to have this concept of rotational shifts which altered my metabolism and had serious consequences on my body. From my own personal experience, I can tell you that doing night shifts is difficult but it is something that can still be worked upon. Although, the good side of the story was that our managerial team was kind of to give us 2 breaks of 15 minutes each. This was really helpful in retaining energy and helped us in working overnight further. I would personally advice that people working in night shifts should eat healthy, maintain a good sleep and stay hydrated. These factors are really helpful in maintain that balance in life. However, despite all the efforts one major problem that I faced during my night shifts was that I could not take out enough time to spend with my family or meet my friends. This was an alarming problem for me as I went through a lot of psychological stress because of this. My family was also unhappy and dissatisfied with me. During this course of my life, I lost some of the most meaningful relationships in my life as I could not give them enough time that they deserved. This is one major flaw of night shifts that can have a bad impact on your life. Apart from this, the good part about night shifts is that you get paid more than the people who work during day hours. In my company, we used to get extra benefits and incentives which was a motivating factor for most of us. The other good thing is one can also save a lot of time which is consumed in travelling as there is less or no traffic at night. One can avoid all those hassles of traffic and crowd and can reach office with ease. Frankly speaking, I used to enjoy my night shifts as it was fun to work in a peaceful environment. Outside office, there used to be extreme peace with no sounds of frequent honking and traffic. So, though night shifts can have some negative consequences but still there is nothing to be scared of and worry about. All you need to know is how to strike the perfect balance between your personal and professional life. Try and take rest on the weekdays but take out at least some time for your family and friends on weekends so that they may not feel neglected and unimportant. Also, in order to maintain good metabolism and escape the negative consequences of night shifts it is really important to exercise and eat healthy. If you feel that you do not have enough time to exercise regularly then one should master some easy exercise hacks that can be performed anywhere as these are really helpful in long run. Trust me if you adopt these simple techniques then night shifts will no longer be your worst nightmares.


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