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Thread: Anyone else work night shift?
21-06-2012, 09:08 AM #1
Anyone else work night shift?
I started working night shift last week as a QA copy reader for a packaging design studio (cooperating with a fellow studio in Australia). Its a satisfying job with some really nice people... but I'm struggling to get used to working 21:00-7:00am then coming home and going to sleep around 9am. I'm also forced to use public transport which I've found to be very unreliable (the home journey today took 2 hours, and would take 20 minutes in a car), and I was forced to cancel my driving practical test for this job.
So yeah, I was wondering if anyone had any tips for working night shift - sleeping tips (light, noise, weekend routine), eating routines, finding time for gaming, socialising or exercising, whether its worth even trying to occasionally drink alcohol midweek, that sort of thing.
Right, off to bed.
21-06-2012, 09:16 AM #2
I only did it for a couple of weeks when I was younger as it was a nice chance to get some extra pay. The company was good and it was really nice that there were no bloody customers in the store getting in the way. Apart from that I didn't like it and swore never to do it again!
Alas no tips from that short time apart from don't drink copious quantities of absinthe the night before starting a week of nightshift (especially if you have to drive home at the end I'm pretty sure I was way too tired to be driving safely that morning!).
21-06-2012, 09:34 AM #3
I worked nights for about 8 years then 4 years of split shifts (a week of mornings 6-2, afternoons 2- 10 and nights 10-6). If I could go back and tell myself then I would say not to start. They make you depressed and take away most of your social life as all your free time you are constantly tired. I have promised myself now I will never work another night sift as long as I live.If graphics are not important why spend so much on a GPU?
21-06-2012, 09:42 AM #4
My wife used to work night shifts, so you have my sympathy. One thing that helped her was to eat her largest meal when she got up in the evening and only eat lightly at the end of the night before bed, that would wake her up at the start and then not wake her up at the end. Also, keeping the night routine at the weekends is probably sensible; trying to shift back and forth might be confusing for your body.
With sleeping during the day, simple face masks are cheap and easy to find, they can be invaluable if you are sensitive to the light. Also, days are both warm and noisy; judging whether to keep your windows open and cooler or closed and quieter is worth thinking about.
Basically though I think it will be a bit of trial and error. You’ll know your body best and how you will cope, just try and build a routine and accept that you are going to feel rubbish for a few days. I hope it works out.
21-06-2012, 11:35 AM #5
Used to work a real pain in the arse roster of two days, two nights, 12 hour shifts. Nights were from 1800 till 0600. Real bitch.
I'm not sure I'd recommend it, but I'd always stay up very late the day before my night shift was due to start and sleep in real late, but my shifts started earlier than yours so I don't know if that's really viable. Whenever I have to work the odd night shift these days I try to do a similar thing to tire myself out as much as possible. I found it was never a problem for the second night shift in a row; I was so tired after the first that I'd sleep right through.
As others have suggested keep the room cool and keep noise down; cooler temperatures tend to make it easier to sleep. Keep ambient light as low as possible; maybe invest in a good pair of blockout curtains with a very thick backing. Unfortunately unless your internal clock is wired for night work (mine ended up getting stuck that way, I hate morning shifts these days) you'll still suffer from sleeplessness every so often. Also if you're not tired and are wide awake it's usually better to go do something rather than lay there trying to fall asleep, unless you have the magical and enviable ability to simply switch off.
I have no real tips for the weekends since my jobs have zero regard for weekends or holidays, but on days off I try to go back to maintaining normal hours.
21-06-2012, 11:52 AM #6
I don't really have shifts per-se, as I do work pretty much when I want and how much I want. Anyway, the nighttime is for me the most productive time and since 24 hours isn't really enough for my cycle of staying up and sleeping (I like to stay up long and sleep long), so sleeping every other night with a little nap in-between has proven quite succesfull for me.
My tips for night-shifts? Well, um... I don't have any viable tips since I've always been a night owl. But you could try taking a nap of 2-3 hours before night-shift, especially if you've slept the last night like a 'normal' person.
21-06-2012, 01:14 PM #7
Get into a pattern, say up every day at 4/5pm and stick to it, even at weekends. You can still go out at the weekend and then come home and do some drunken gaming in the morning. If you stick to it your body clock will soon adapt. Make sure you turn off any phones and try to block out as much natural light as possible. You need the room as close to pitch black as possible.
21-06-2012, 05:29 PM #8
I work 19:00 - 3:00, but I'm working at home. In the first year I usually went to sleep right after 3 am. Over time I completely degenerated, now I go to sleep at like 9-10 am and wake up 10 minutes before I start work. Block natural light, use earplugs.
For some reason, now I can barely sleep when I know I'll have something to do during the day. I keep waking up every 30 minutes or so. It's very annoying and I can't force myself to stop. There's no socialising during the week. I guess that's why I waste so much time on forums.
21-06-2012, 07:06 PM #9
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
- Toronto, Canada
I worked nights at a department store for about a year. It was lousy work for a lousy employer.
Advice? Don't do it. Life on earth is healthy when it rises and sleeps with the sun. Anything else is unhealthy. Don't kid yourself. It's no more complicated than this.
21-06-2012, 07:28 PM #10
21-06-2012, 09:09 PM #11
Thanks for all your advice chaps.
I'm aware of the long-term health issues associated with night shift work, but... well, I'll put it like this. I left university with a decent degree last June and have been unable to find permanent work for a whole year. I finally got this job offer through an agency and utterly leapt on the opportunity to finally earn some money (with an very good night shift allowance) and pick up where my life more or less stalled a year ago. Will I do it forever? I sodding well hope not. But if I can survive it for a year or two, assuming I pass my probation, I'll have enough money and industry experience to get my life on track. The sad fact is this is a terrible time to be unemployed and I'll take anything I can get.
As for the sleep pattern I'll try to stick to sleeping 9:00-4:00 on weekends as well, although living with my parents and two younger siblings doesnt make this particularly easy, so I'll be looking to move out as soon as my probation is up. I went a bit nuts and taped my windows up with tin foil last week (which is suprisingly good at keeping a room dark and cool) and that should last me till the weekend when I'll get around to buying some blackout blinds.
Socialising... is going to suffer. Frustratingly, I couldnt properly socialise when unemployed as I had no money, and now that I do I'll probably have no time to do it. Even something as simple as going out for a coffee tomorrow afternoon will be a struggle, as my friend wants to meet at 2pm and I'd barely get 4 hours sleep.
21-06-2012, 09:28 PM #12
I was never a social butterfly. However I do miss going out on Friday nights. I appreciate the time spent with my friends more now, so that's a plus.
My advantage is that I don't get tired going to work or sitting in front of the PC so I can get away with short sleeps or two days awake.
23-11-2012, 07:04 AM #13
- Join Date
- Nov 2012
23-11-2012, 04:13 PM #14
InsideTrak cured my broken legs and reattached my ears.
23-11-2012, 09:26 PM #15
12-12-2012, 01:56 AM #16
If theres one thing I've learnt to appreciate from the experience of working regular 9 hour night shifts, however, it is simply being permitted to sleep when the world is dark and your body wishes to do so. For anyone still struggling with working nights, you have my utmost sympathy - for those it does not agree with it is a torturous, life-wrecking thing.
Also, God bless Inside Trak. Who are apparently an Australian jobs agency or something.
12-12-2012, 01:58 AM #17
I put through night shift in one pub,but one day gipsies started shooting at each other so i quit.
12-12-2012, 02:09 AM #18
12-12-2012, 02:38 AM #19
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
I worked night shift for 6 months once - worse still, it was night-shift for 10 days, then day-shift for 10 days - then... - which is WAY worse because just as you get used to the change - you change again!
Firstly, if you NEED the job either for money for career purposes then fine but otherwise get a day job - seriously - I'd want to be paid twice-as-much to work nights!!
Sleeping? What I did is leave work and go shopping or to the sports centre or something like that - so I'd get groceries or gifts or new clothes or just work-out a bit, then when I got home (about 10:00am in my case) I'd be properly tired and thus able to sleep through most anything!!
You could also try radically different sleeping patterns - some people believe that you can get by on much shorter blocks of sleep and there's much research (tho little conclusive evidence) that there's more to sleeping that '8 hours every day'.
I experimented a bit with this - the theory is that you have find your ideal 'sleep block' and stick to sleeping in multiples of that. You do this by sleeping without any alarms etc. and noting the times you awake - after a while it will become obvious what your shortest proper 'sleep' is and that's your 'block' (usually in the range of 100-150 mins).
You then divide your sleep into 2 types - and work that around your schedule accordingly.
"Proper" sleep - in a bed etc. - should last at least 2 blocks - any alarm should be set on a block time after that.
"Powernaps" can be taken anywhere and should last just 1 block.
By sticking to the times rigidly, your body will become accustomed and you'll get a better rest and, quite possibly, find yourself with more time on your hands!!