Unless you’re a vampire like the main squeeze in this week’s most talked about the movie, Breaking Dawn, sitting on a chair and trying to keep your eyes wide open is not an ideal way to spend the night. Vampires don’t need to sleep, but humans do. And what sane man wouldn’t choose a good night’s sleep on a warm and cozy bed over an almost catatonic attempt to get something done in front of a cold and unaffectionate computer screen? Ah, yes. A sane man who aims to earn a living.

With the emergence and continuous growth of 24-hour businesses, working the graveyard shift is no longer the exclusive curse of medical professionals and security personnel. More and more people are being required to forego their natural rights to a luxurious nighttime slumber in exchange for career growth and professional fulfillment—okay, and a little taste of affluence on the side. Or did I get that the other way around?

Different types of people have different responses to a night shift schedule. While some people may look at it in a positive light, others may soon become too jaded to look at it in any other way than just another night in the life of (insert name here). No matter how the night shift appeals to you—or not—the fact remains that you have to live through it, preferably with your eyes wide open, if you are to keep living decently. Here are some tips on how to survive the graveyard shift:

  • Try to adapt to the idea that this is not just a shift schedule, but is actually a way of life. For people who are bound to the graveyard shift for long periods of time, thinking this way will make it easier for them to transition into their new schedule and eventually be able to work their lifestyles around it.
  • Take advantage of break times and catch up on a few minutes of napping to help keep you energized and alert until the end of the shift. Just be careful not to oversleep and incite the wrath of your supervisor. If you must, excuse yourself and go do something physical—like running or walking to the nearest diner—to wake your nerves up. Keeping a favorite power snack in your pocket popping a piece into your mouth every once in a while may also do the trick.
  • Losing track of time is not uncommon to people who work the graveyard. Investing on a digital watch that shows the time in a 24-hour format can help you tell the difference between night and day. If it shows the date and day as well, you’ll know you’re in good hands.
  • If there are important errands and chores you need to take care of during the daytime, do them in the early morning before you go to sleep. Save the afternoons for yourself.
  • It’s a given that working odd hours may lead to sleep deprivation, especially when you’re new to the shift and is still adjusting to it. This can be resolved by properly managing your time and setting your priorities straight. Keep in mind that you were not born with a red cape on, so you are therefore excused from saving the world. Like every sane man on earth, you need to sleep. Let your family and friends know your work schedule so that they can refrain from unnecessarily disturbing you during the day.
  • When having trouble going to sleep at daytime, sleeping pills and intoxicants are not the key. Try to establish a sleep preparation ritual to help you along the way. Whether it’s applying your favorite facial cream, listening to music, or reading the most boring book on your shelf, this routine should help your mind realize that it’s time to go to sleep. It would be more effective if you can do this on the same hour every day.

 

Love and life may demand some sacrifices on your part, but it does not necessarily mean that you let your work schedule bite you in the neck and whisk you away to Isle Esme. Always remember, “a graveyard shift does not a vampire make.”

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