Night Shift Workers - let's hear from you

I like working night shifts. We work 8PM - 8AM here. We only get paid an extra dollar an hour compared to the day shift but there’s a lot less management bullshit to deal with on the back shift.

I’m curious to know about other people’s experiences with working nights. Do you feel it affects your health? your relationships? Do you choose to work nights or do it out of necessity? As I said I like working them, but I do find it makes it difficult to fight off colds, etc. I get sick 2-3 times a winter and I feel if I weren’t so run down I’d be able to fight more of those infections off. I also find it hard to get to the gym as often as I once did, although having kids plays a bigger role in that one for me.

Any pet peeves related to working nights? I can’t be the only one who has people wake me up around 3 in the afternoon and wonder why I’m so tired when I’ve “just been sleeping all day”.

I used to work the night shift at a factory and loved it. No management looking over your shoulder, do what you want (within reason). As long as you have a decent guy there with ya it’s all good. He used to go wash his car, I’d read books. And get paid more! Ha.

My sleeping pattern is pretty funky anyway, so I didn’t care. I slept til about 3-4ish (got back at 7), still gave me plenty of time for normal stuff. Unfortunately the shifts cycled between night, morning and afternoon shifts week by week, which royally screwed any sense of a sleeping pattern as well as making me ill from the irregular meal times.

We have to switch back to days a few times a month too and that’s the worst part for me by a long shot. It’s only 3 times a month but I find it really hard on my system. I don’t have any problem sleeping during the day, but I can’t sleep at night when it comes time to work the day shifts.

Ditto, although I found the hunger thing a lot harder going than just plain tiredness; I couldn’t really have a full square meal at work like I would at home; got stomach cramps the first few days into a new shift, before my body got used to the new meal pattern.

I’ve worked evenings or nights on and off for the past few years. I recently switched from 4-12:30 M-F to 5pm-5:30am F-S to save gas.

I truly enjoy because it gives me an opportunity to work on some special projects unavailable during “meeting” hours. It doesn’t hurt that I work for the best boss in my department and a small, but tight knit group with my current hours. The hours also allow me to have four straight days a week off to pursue other interests.

There’s never been a place that I’ve had to switch shifts on rotation, but that would have to be rough. Not too many people bother me during sleeping hours anymore, but it has been an issue in the past (Mom, Terminex guy, I’m talking to you!).

I’ve always been a night owl anyway and once family obligations no longer had a big influence on my shift choice, I’ve worked by the light of the moon.

I used to love working night shift. 2300 - 0700. It was a tech support call centre, so it was great.

We had the internet, and TVs to watch. Calls would come in about once or twice an hour, and there was nobody else there between 0200 and 0630 apart from the three of us. Call monitoring stopped at midnight and started at 0700, so when you were on “Graves” it was all good.

I didn’t have much problem sleeping or eating. My biggest problem was that like Mr. Kobayashi we were on a rotating roster. So you only got a week of graves before you had to switch back into morning shift mode. Not cool.

The money was good too.

I worked various night shifts for many years. The work itself was ok, but I had a tremendous amount of difficulty sleeping during the day (I was living in Manhattan at the time). It affected my health permanently.

Oh how I loved the midnight shifts, but it’s the rotating schedule that’ll kill you. I ended up being the rotating shift person at my last job, meaning 2 midnights, 2 afternoons, and one morning each week. Pay was terrible and it about killed me health-wise. Those six months are an absolute blur in my head.

But man, did I love the midnight shifts. No management looking over your shoulder, ability to solve problems in your own way, no customers to get in the way of getting proper work done, they were great.

When I was single, I loved working grave at the 7-11. Lots of empty time to get my chores done, then lots of time to write and produce the zine that I used to do. Mornings were a bitch - 2 solid hours of literally non-stop customers. But then I’d get off at 7, have a cuppa coffee and a cream cheese bagel, smoke a joint, and listen to Howard Stern for a few hours… Great times!

Now, I’d just NEVER see my wife if I did grave on a regular basis…

Never got sick with any regularity - in fact, I never missed a graveyard shift. I don’t remember why I started working that shift - I think it just sorta happened.


Well, I guess you picked an appropriate time to post this thread. I’m at work right now. It used to be 11PM-7:30AM, five days a week, but now they have me doing 11PM to 10:30AM, four days a week. It’s kind of rough because I’ll be sitting around here all night reading message boards and trying to stay awake, but when 7:30 rolls around and first shift comes it, I have to go from not doing a thing to running around like a chicken with its head cut off after I’ve already been here for eight hours.

Otherwise, I like it, though. I’ve been on this shift for nearly two years now and have turned down offers to move to first shift. It’s great coming to work at night when there’s no traffic and going home in the morning when all of the traffic is coming into the city and I’m one of the few leaving. I almost feel a little bit sorry for all of the cars lined up, barely moving, as I whiz on by in the opposite direction. Almost. :smiley:

ETA: as far as personal stuff goes, I had a girlfriend when I started this job, and it did interfere with that somewhat, but I’ve been happily single for over a year now, so no problems there.

I spend my time between calls reading engineering textbooks, YMMV :slight_smile:

That sounds rough. I’d much rather be busy at the start of the shift then the end.

Oh yeah, technical texts are like nature’s amphetamines. :rolleyes:


I’ve worked night shift, varying hours, at three different Security jobs in the last four years.

At the truck gate, you’d see 15-25 trucks in 8 hours, compared to 60-90 during the day shift. So mostly I’d listen to music and read. When we were allowed (which varied a lot because we worked for a really petty asshole who kept changing the rules and handing out punishments for Og knows what), I watched DVDs.

At the University, things would still be closing up until midnight, 2am if the law school was going into finals. After that, drive around, walk around, go find a place off camera to sit and read. Or go in the Officer Office (also off-camera) and surf the web for a half-hour or so. Just be available for calls, which were pretty sparse. The absolute BEST time to be working because the higher management jackasses were not on campus to look over your shoulder and/or have you do petty bullshit for them.

Now I’m doing armed Security at varying places. Weekends are the worst, because people are out and about and usually drunk. In fact, I’m working tomorrow and saturday nights at an urban restaurant and I’m NOT looking forward to it. During the week I usually sit at these places, read a book, chat with the staff, do an occasional random patrol.

I said in another thread recently that I’ve gotten used to the shifting, varying hours and it doesn’t bother me much anymore. The only thing that really bothers me is having people call me at 9am when I got to sleep at 6am. It took my mother a good year and repeated angry words to learn not to call me in the mornings or early afternoons when I was working nights. Now if only I could get the polling organizations or charities to stop calling PERIOD.

Out of curiosity, why leave the ringer on? I know some people have to because their kids are school or whatever and they need to be available. I don’t always shut mine off either, but if it’s low I can sleep through it if it rings in the first few hours after hitting the sack. If it does wake me up I invariably try to answer my alarm clock a few times before I come to my senses :stuck_out_tongue:

Been working night shift at a factory for four years now. 4PM-2AM. 10 hours a day, five days a week…it recently went down to four days.

I like it. I do the same job as the first shifters, but get paid more. :slight_smile:

There is less management breathing down your neck, this is always a great plus, but this also has a downside…no one to make important decisions (what do I run?). So sometimes we make it up as we go.

I’ve always been a night person, and this shift suits my waking schedule perfectly. I do get tired of the usual “hey can you get up and do this?” crap that most morning people do…but after four years, most of those who know me have figured it out.

It’s also nice, I can talk easily to my friends in other time zones (they are two hours behind)

One bad thing about our shift is that we get screwed for weekend overtime (when it was available) They want us to leave at 2AM and then comeback in at Noon. That sucks, when first shift left at 4PM and comes back at 6AM.

You never notice how often the phone rings during the day, until you work 2nd. Over and over and over. I never answer it anymore.

BUT the major downside. I have absolutely NO social life. Yeah. Very sucky. I can rarely meet established friends, much less meet anyone.

Yeah, I sometimes find myself wishing there was a grown-up around to make some of the calls. Oh crap, it’s me! :stuck_out_tongue:

A few years ago one of our pad-mount transformers (delivering power to the building) was hit by a snow plow during the night. I was on the phone with the power company and they said they could get us a replacement right away, dollar figure >$100,000, should they send it? - me, “uh, uh, um, ahhhh”. I got a hold of the plant engineer and he told them to deliver it NOW. That, on top of the lost production, was outside my comfort range for night-shift decision making.

Yeah, well the first shift bosses are the only people who are in contact with our customer…so only they can determine what NEEDS to run and what doesn’t. They leave a “cheat sheet” everyday, but if something unexpected comes up (part change or whatever), we night people need to make it up as we go, then get chewed if we make the wrong decision. :mad:

If it was up to me, I wouldn’t care one way or the other. :cool:

Besides, I’m just a peon/button pusher.

We also have about half or less the support staff, in terms of “setup” “maintenance” “engineers” etc. For example, we had no maintenance person for a few months, until relatively recently. Yet we do the EXACT same job and production amounts, if not MORE. As it is now, we have more knowledgeable people on 2nd, so more often than not, we fix the first shift’s screw ups.

Things are the same all over. We do have a maintenance guy at night (me), but as far as the operators it’s the same. Fix problems from the day and then outproduce them with fewer resources.

Another one working graveyard - five 8 hr shifts.

Although there are some advantages (minimal supervision, downtime so I can browse the boards/internet, etc), I agree with the disadvantages that others have mentioned.

Sleep is a big one. Sure, when I was younger I didnt seem to need as much sleep - and there were times when I even worked 2 jobs to make ends meet (usually during the day). My kids were young enough that I got to see them in the morning before school (if they were in school) and when they were out for holidays or whatnot I was able to spend time with them. My Mom was able to take care of them overnight.

Now, I just cant get by without sleep. I have to take meds and they require a minimum of 8 hrs of rest. If I dont take the meds, I’ll sleep for about 2 hrs and then boom - wide awake. The phone is usually off so that’s not a prob. Since I live in the country, not really an issue with people poppin over unannounced. I had a couple of rough days when there was a lack of sleep and I didnt go in to work - but as I get more used to the hours it doesnt seem to be so much an issue.

What is an issue is that the “day people” dont seem to understand what it’s like.
For example, I signed up for a program at work that helps prepare you to go back to college and also to learn some medical terminology. The hours are from 1-3pm.
This is RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of my sleep pattern. The response I got: “Well, maybe you’ll just need to get up a little earlier.” A little earlier? Hey dude, this is like me tellin you that you need to go to bed at 6pm (an hour after work) and get up at 10pm, go to class from 11-1am and then start your whole day over and be at work by 8am. Not. So. Easy. It’s hard for me to go to bed as soon as I get home so I’m usually up til 11 doing some chores and then relaxing. I make myself go to bed and I sleep til 9-930 (I usually dont doze off til around noon). I tend to sleep longer because my sleep is often disturbed anytime after the first 2 hrs - the cats playing, the dogs barking, the birds chirping. It’s like my body is telling me “Hey, lazy butt, it’s after noon! Why are you still in bed???” ugh.

I have noticed my sinuses bother me a lot more than usual and I have a tendency to get more headaches. Bonus thing, though, is that I dont seem to wake up during my sleep time because my wrist hurts.

Family life: That one’s tricky. I get to see them briefly before work/school when I get home and briefly before I leave. I usually stay up all day on Fridays and pick up after school, go to bed at a “normal hour” - usually 11pm. I have a tendency to want to sleep all day on Saturdays, though, but my hubby-thingy* usually makes me get out of bed around noon.

Sex life: I used to have one. I used to want one. Now I’m too damned tired and that is soooooo not me! I miss it. And I feel bad because I know it’s also difficult on the hubby-thingy. :smack: Now I remember how/why I behaved myself so many years ago when I was working late hours/graveyard!!

On a side note: One of the guys I work with is single and he has no problem with relationships… of course, he doesnt go out and date or anything either. He has his computer and games to keep him occupied.

The other 2 guys are married. One of them works 2 jobs as well as his wife so they dont see much of eachother. The other one has been married for several years and they seem to do just fine.

Added bonus to working graveyard - the guys I work with are gamers, so I fit in. I’m also the only female on the shift in this dept so I dont have to put up with the backstabbing and gossip that normally goes on.

The only thing that seems to affect me regarding sleeping during the day is my sinuses. YMMV but I highly recommend buying a Neti pot. They take a little getting used to but it’s helped me a lot so far.