Shift schedules are known to be detrimental to physical, emotional and mental health.
Over time, the hobbies you once loved may disappear, causing irritation, leading to loneliness, and feelings of dissatisfaction.
Working nights doesn't mean you have to lose touch with your family and friends. With a little planning, you can still spend time and feel close to the people you care about.
Here are some tips from veteran shift-workers:
Manage your sleep
- Some people can work without problems at night, while others have a lack of sleep and fatigue. This is because humans are designed to sleep at night.
- The only way to pay off your sleep debt is to make up for the lack of sleep.
- You need to sleep at least 7-9 hours, so if you can not sleep at night, take a nap whenever you can. Sleep while your friends are at work or school, so you can spend any free time you have later with them.
Set time aside for personal meets
- Set aside time to talk with your partner every day. Even a few minutes spent together over coffee will help you stay in touch.
- Make sure your partner can reach you by telephone or cell phone at work. If you can't receive calls, arrange a time for them to call you at home.
- Plan at least one activity with family and friends each week.
Schedule special events with children
- If you're a parent, arrange your schedule so you can attend a few special events with your children each year, such as holiday dinners, school activities, and more. Let your child help pick the events you should attend.
- Video record the special events you'll have to miss, such as birthdays, school sports events, dance recitals, etc. Watch them together.
Set up a family bulletin
- Set up a family bulletin board where you and your family members can display school work, notes, drawings, photographs, and cartoons.
- Post a calendar in a highly visible spot and mark your shift schedule as soon as it's assigned.
Deal with problems, the healthy way
- Bring up problems early and resolve them before they threaten relationships.
- When you feel irritable, make sure your family and friends understand that it's because you're tired, not because you're angry at them. This is especially important if you have young children.
Involve activities that don't need scheduling
- Get involved with activities that don't require a set schedule as sports or yoga do.
- Work out at a gym.
Connect with alike people
- Develop a circle of friends who understand your work schedule and are willing to be flexible in order to spend time with you.
- Organize coworkers or friends who share your schedule and plan activities with them.
Make time for yourself
- Attend workshops or hobby clubs that interest you. These are places where you can meet people with the same interests as you.
Additional tips for the night shift- workers (Lifestyle tips)
- Eat and drink before bed. Don't go to bed empty stomach. You may wake up hungry or thirsty in between.
- Avoid alcohol consumption right before bed. Alcohol can help you get a good night's sleep, but avoid it as it reduces the quality of your sleep.
- Sleep in a dark room. Keeping your bedroom dark will help you feel comfortable.
- Choose foods that are easy to digest, such as bread, rice, pasta, salads, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
- Be aware of your caffeine intake. Drinking a cup of coffee every day can help you stay awake during your workday. However, overuse can cause digestive problems and muscle issues.
Working evening hours can put stress on your family life and relationships, knowing how to cope with the challenges is the key. Gradually, through communicating, dealing with problems at an earlier time, prioritizing, socializing, and making time for recreation, shift work will begin to have a smaller impact on your life.