Need some ideas on how to start working a graveyard shift please...


12 Years
Sep 14, 2007
Kalispell , MT
This sunday I'll be working on a job an hour away remodeling a Safeway . The hours are 10:00PM-6:00AM . I have never worked graveyard , and was wondering if anyone had any advice for me . I'll be working five eight hour I guess I won't have a life anymore . It's also hard because on the weekends , I'm not sure if I should keep the same sleeping schedule or try to change back so I can spend time with my family . Any advice would be great !
Take power naps. DON'T NAP LONGER THAN 30 MIN AT A TIME! If you find yourself tired at work. Take a "smoke break" and sit in your car. Listen to the radio for three songs with your eyes shut. Don't sleep. Just rest your eyes. IT WORKS! After that third song jump out of the car! Ready for your day! IF you go any longer than 30 minutes Your body and mind goes into ALLNIGHTER mode. You don't need that. Short quick power naps.

When at home. Be prepared. You will want to spend time with the family. You will be tired and will want to avoid the bed. Don't give in to this desire to stay up. At best you might get maybe 5hours because you won't be used to sleeping when you're normally awake. And (even though the family won't be doing it on purpose.) There will be many interruptions that will invade your sleep. GET A MASK! It will help with the sunlight.
But look up!It will only be for 5 days.
I did this shift for 2years and a second job WITHOUT A DAY OFF!!!Delivering Newspapers. YUCK!!!!!!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!
My SO works the late shift. I am blessed because I only work one 24 hour shift a week, so I'm able to keep to his hours and we have a "normal" family life because I can. Our bedroom is kept as dark as possible. I looked for lots of creative, NON TACKY ways to do this, but in the end wound up doing what he's always done; I put aluminum foil on the bedroom windows. The rest of the house has lined curtains, but they are quite expensive and available in very few styles anymore. The aluminum foil was cheaper and I can still have pretty curtains over it.
Change your whole life schedule to match your shift. Example: what we do is, when he gets home (around 1 - 2 a.m., sometimes later) we eat supper. Then we do our visiting with each other, maybe watch some TV, before going to bed around 3 a.m. and sleep till around 10 - 11 a.m. the next morning. We still have people that don't understand why we don't go to bed as soon as he gets home, but as he tells them, they don't go straight to bed when they get off @ 5 p.m., why should he? Most everyone knows not to call us before noon. To do so risks getting a very unhappy person on the phone. We don't do it now, but when he lived in town he had a sign on his door that said 'Day sleeper - do not knock'.
Expect to get a case of the blues after the first few weeks. Without alot of sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels, you may feel down. We open up all the curtains as soon as we get up to let the light in, but also take vitamin D3 supplements.
In short (although it's too late for that
) do everything you do now, only shift the hours you do it to match your work schedule. Oh, and beware that for the first few weeks your reaction time may be slower.
My husband worked this shift for 20 years.
Trust me... when your family wakes you up for the 5th time in a day.. they really don't mean it... you are there and they didn't see you not sleeping last night.. they were busy sleeping. I know it sounds silly, but even as the adult, I had to continously remind myself to let him sleep.

Try if you can to make YOUR day the same as it use to be.. ie

you would wake up at 6am, eat go to work at 7am.. come home at 5, eat at 6, bed at 10.

When you come home in the morning... even thought your exhausted.. try to stay up, if your schedule allows..

The BEST piece of advice.. my DH aways said.. it didn't matter if he had a bad sleeping day... he HAD to have that last hour...before leaving for work as a power nap!

Good luck to you... and do be careful on the weekends.. don't mess up your new sleep schedule too much.
When I worked at the dairy, I sometimes did all 3 shifts for a few days straight. The night shift was 8pm-1am, then morning was 3:30-8, then noon was 11-4. I had to ride a bike to work 6 miles in the dark. what I did to stay up was I would keep a bottle of tobasco water, it was a normal bottle of water with a tablespoon of tobasco sauce in it. When I would start to feel sleepy I would take a drink of it and the bitterness would wake me up.
Put aluminum foil over your windows in your bedroom - blocks light really well. On weekends go to bed late and sleep late if possible - that way you won't be TOO far off schedule for your work days.
Thanks for the advice everyone ! I'm mainly concerned with being able to spend time with my fiance' . He's an electrician also and has been working an hour and a half away from home and driving back every night . He gets home at 7:30pm . Our wedding is three months away and I'm happy that I have gotten most of the preparations done already . I just diidn't know if it would be wise to try to have a "normal" weekend to spend time with him . He leaves @ 4:00am , so having him here when I get home is not an option except on the weekends .

Ps.....This job is going to be at least 2 months or more......not just 5 days .
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I have worked a swing shift now for the last 13 yrs. You will never get used to it. Your body will be exhausted on third shift and you will experience heartburn, upset stomach, headaches and diarreaha. I live off of Excedrin and Tums when Im working third shift. I leave for work at 10 p.m. and get home at 9 a. m. Your sleep will be restless and you wake up numerous times during the day. I go to bed about an hour after I get home and try to sleep for at least 6 hours then spend some time with my family. But be warned, you will not want to talk to anyone at all or have any contact with outsiders at this time. The only advantage to my 3rd shift is the fact that I get a week off after every one. But then it takes at least 2 days for my body to start to feel right again. Sorry I cant sound more optimistic about it but you will see for yourself. Good luck.
That's why I am so worried......people aren't meant to work like this . My Union is paying me 17.3% more but that's only $136 more a week on my paycheck . Being that it's an hour away (60 miles) half of the extra money will be going towards gas . The only reason I am taking this job is the contractor doesn't want my fiance' and I to work together....times are slow now and it's the only job out there right now . We asked the contractor a year ago if they had a problem with us working together and they said no . I stirred the pot and our Union ended up haveing a meeting over it . The contractor then said she did have a problem with us working together because she had trouble with another couple previously . We are now looking into a lawsuit against the contractor and the Union . MOST Unions are good......our local union is s**t .
Wow. I can't add anything that hasn't already been said. I just know that any research I have read says that messing with the daily rhythm is not good for your overall health, and that sticking to the same schedule for the duration, even days off, is necessary. You MUST get your regular sleep.

And by the way, congrats on the upcoming nuptials!!

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