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Can You Commit to the Lifestyle?
To successfully work at night, you have to commit to the lifestyle. Honestly ask yourself if you are a night owl or if you just cannot stay up that late. If you are 45 and older, your body is starting to gravitate to rising early and going to bed early. If you take an evening or overnight position, your family life, your sleep schedule and your routines will have to revolve around your job. You may not be able to pursue your regular hobbies because they usually happen during the day.
Keep Your Body Healthy
You will need to develop strategies for handling the upside down hours. Look into maximizing your sleep environment to foster rest during the day. If you do not get the right amount of sleep every day, you can develop sleep disorders and chronic sleep deprivation. Think about the type of work you are considering. Is it going to be monotonous? Can you handle being both fatigued and bored without making mistakes? Research and studies show that lack of sleep leads to weight gain, a poor appearance, possible infections, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, irritability, bad concentration, poor decisions, slower reaction time, ineffective memory, and increased accidents. Furthermore, keeping your body awake at night disrupts your circadian rhythm. This disruption can lead to cancer and depression.
In addition to sleep, you should think about strengthening your body. Plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Avoid full meals overnight. Your body will not digest the same overnight as in the daytime. A full meal can make you sleepy. If your boss will allow it, have shorter meal times and more frequent breaks.
Exercise on a daily basis. Train your body for the stamina that you will need. It has been shown that working non-traditional hours changes your hormones. Your body will start to put on weight if you are not careful.
Have a talk with your family. Your spouse and children will have to learn to let you sleep when needed. They have to understand that you cannot attend all of their events. If they give you enough notice, however, you may be able to get time off from your job.
Try to make friends on the night shift. You will need someone to talk to who is on the same schedule as you. You can become very lonely if you are the only one around at 6 p.m. when you wake up for work or at 8 a.m. when you arrive home.
You Can do This
Surviving night shift schedules is possible. After all, many people do it. This is why our economy can operate 24 hours a day. This is also why we can receive healthcare, police and fire services any time of night. Businesses are able to have orders prepared and shipped. Airlines are busy transporting passengers at 2 a.m. Even if you are not a night owl, chances are that your body will get used to the night life if you give it time. Again, you have to be committed. It will help if you can get a regular shift. You definitely do not want to sometimes work in daylight, and other times work at night. You also want to maintain your same sleep schedule even when you have days off.