What is it like working graveyard shift?

I recently got a job working in a casino. Originally I was to work the graveyard shift, but they had some people out just before a big concert and they needed me to work swing shift (3-11). At the end of the month I can put in for a transfer to graves, though. I’m wondering though, from those who have done it-how does it affect your social life, sleep patterns, ect? Maybe I’d be better off staying in swing? :confused:

I love it. I’m now into my second year, and I can safely say that I’ve found my niche. This is where I belong. My schedule meshes nicely with my spouse’s, my kids’ school, everything.

Disadvantage? Training people that I am NOT AVAILABLE from 0800-1500, that’s when I’m asleep, just like they’re not available from, say, 2200-0600.

I also work 7-on, 7-off – so I have 26 weeks off before paid vacation! Bwhaaa!

miatachris, R.Ph.

Nice. I work 5-on 2 off, but my offs are Thursday and Friday, which is pretty clutch.

If you’re a tipped employee, depending on if/how the casino pools tips, graveyard could suck.

I’ve been working nights for fifteen years. Some people adapt well to them, some don’t. I mostly find it easy. As said, the hardest part is getting people used to the idea that you need to sleep during the day. Some people need pitch black to sleep during the day, some don’t, some wear earplugs, some don’t.

Personally, I can sleep with the windows wide open, right after drinking a coffee (I usually have one on the way home) but I think I’m the exception on those ones. I usually wear earplugs if my kids are being loud.

At night you’ll notice that late in the shift if you aren’t staying busy there will be a roughly 15 minute stretch out of every hour where you just can’t stay focused. You need to walk around or do something during those stretches to get through it. You may notice fun stuff like seeing lights in the corner of your field of vision, stuff like that.

Everyone responds differently, you won’t know until you’ve done it for a few months.

I worked various night shifts for several years. I hated it. I never got enough sleep, especially since I lived in a noisy location. I didn’t eat right and gained weight and became diabetic. And I had to work with some pretty dysfunctional people who worked nights to get away from “normal” people. And there’s no way to convince people not to call you during the day, and not to ask you to do chores for them, because you’re home all day.

I always found I was ok just so long as I had a set schedule. I didn’t like working 3-11 because it pretty much meant I would always miss most social events. I preferred 11-7.


Worked grave. In a casino.

Wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t go back. Your largest problem is that the world happens when you’re sleeping. So things as simple as getting to the bank and running errands becomes hard. And your days off are no help since your problem is you’re SLEEPING through the day, not working. Try to act like a normal human being on a grave schedule is exhausting (either skipping a night’s sleep or going with very little).

panache45 makes a good point about eating right. When the only things open at 3AM are Jack in the Box and McDonalds, your healthy options are somewhat limited.

Socially, I lost track of friends. Can’t go out drinking really since you have to be sober (enough) for work. On other days I started at 9:00 which basically blew any chance of going to a movie or sporting event. Same with late movies. At times it got very lonely. There’s really nobody to talk to at 4AM. Could have used a pet. Then again I’m not a very social person anyway.

On the other hand, if you have nothing to do sleep isn’t bad. You just sleep later in the day and take naps. You get used to the phone calls and mid-day deliveries.

It was just too much stress for me trying to have a life though.

I hated it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not physically able to work nights - I don’t sleep in the day, my eating habits get all messed up, my biorhythms are a mess, I’m constantly sick - working nights felt like torture to me. I’ll never do it again voluntarily.

I worked grave’s for 3 years. I cant tell you, for sure, that working graves (11pm-7am) is MUCH better than working swings (3pm-11pm). The reason is not always immediately obvious though. Working graves you will sleep during the day and be awake during the evening when the rest of the family is home from school/work etc… Swings suck ass because you go to work before the fam comes home and get back after they go to bed so you miss EVERYTHING. It sucks.

The only 2 disadvantages to working mids are you don’t really get to sleep with your spouse, which can drive a wedge if you’re not careful, and the weekends are all fucked up because you NEED to sleep during the day, but your family and friends are all doing things together during the day on the weekends and you can either stay up with them and be miserable/tired AND fuck up your sleep schedule, or you can sleep and stay up by yourself over night on Fri and Sat nights.

All in all though mids is much better than swings IMHO.

Been working 4PM to 2AM for five years. It suits me, but I’m a weirdo…

Social life? What’s that? I’ve HEARD about it, but no longer have one.

As others said, the hardest part is making people UNDERSTAND that you SLEEP during the day. Getting up for social events at noon on Saturday (when I work til 2AM that morning) is HARD

Hmm, so it comes down to one’s ability to sleep during the day…I’ve never been very good at that, but then I’ve never worked all night either. The REAL fun part will be that I work one day a week at a local YMCA for extra money (I’m usually too tired to work out, ironically). It’s a Friday, so my day off-but I still think I’ll be grumpier. At least they have coffee…

Bad mistake, see when you work days, you get up and go to work THEN you hang out for a number of hours awake.

If you try to go to sleep the instant you get home, then socialize in the evening, you start to get the sleepies at about 3 am.

If you run errands and stay up til noon, then sleep and get up just the normal amount of time you need to before work, and no 3 am sleepies.

Trust me … I have years of experience working graves.

And never try to hang with the guys and change to their schedule for weekends or any vacation that you cant take 2 or 3 days getting back into sleeping days after…it will be hell trying to shift back to graves.

I worked graveyard for a few years. As noted above, the rest of the world happens while you’re asleep, and that means UPS deliveries, doctor’s appointments, banks, renewing your drivers license, the post office, that big road construction project outside your window, it all interrupts your sleep. You spend half your vacation time getting used to being up during the day. Eventually for me it was like jet lag, all the time. The ironic part is, I’m much more productive at work in third shift situations when I’m left alone to get things done.

I found that at 1:00 - 1:30 I was going to be drop over tired no matter how much sleep I had gotten. The rest of shift I was fine. The best time to sleep was before I went to work not when I got home. that way I had the energy to make through the shift. I also got window coverings that could black out my room, and I slept with a fan running to cover noise. It was still better when I worked 7:00 - 15:00. it also helps to have your days off consecutive so you can interact with people you know that don’t work your hours.

I worked as an overnight Manager in hotels for years and years. It’s OK but I don’t recommend it for young people.

I found it OK when I was able to work 4 days, 10 hours per day, 'cause then I got enough rest, but it was a mess if you work 5 days - 8 hours per day.

Here’s why, when you go on night say, 11pm - 7am, Sunday through Thursday, you think, “Wow this is great I have Friday and Saturday and Sunday off.”

But it isn’t so. In reality you’re at work on Friday (till 7am) and you’re at work on Sunday (at 11pm) so the only calendar day you’re not at work is Sunday, so it FEELS like you’re only getting one day off.

Yes I know you’re not, but if does feel that way.

Overnights will screw up any social life you have, and it’s very hard in the Summer, 'cause there is so much to do. I found in the Summer, I would neglect sleeps, 'cause it’s so much fun to be out in the sun during the day.

Also if you have a family it’ll be tough. I used to hire for overnight and I would always get mothers say “I think it’ll be good for me. My husband can watch the kids at night and I’ll be home during the day.” But the fact is Mommy needs her sleep and kids are NOT going to let her sleep. At night the kids are sleep, when Daddy is.

If you’re single it is better. I worked overnights and rented a room and things went fine, until June. That is when my landlady’s kid stopped going to school. Well he was ten so she left him alone during the day while she went to work.

Now he didn’t bother me, but he was a ten year old kids. He made a LOT of noise, him and his friends. Even if he played outside, they were always screaming. And to be fair, this is what kids do, they make noise and get dirty. What was I suppose to complain to my landlady, you’re kid is doing what he is SUPPOSED to be doing. So I moved.

The thing people don’t get about night shift is the principle of the human body’s ability to skip sleep. You need some sort of pattern for sleep and unless you can get that you’re body will skip over your sleep cycle.

Finally don’t let your friends take advantage. You would not believe, “You’re home all day anyway can’t you stay at my flat and let the cable guy in?” I’m like, “I have only spokien to you once, now you want a favour?”

Would you say, “Gee can’t you get up at 3am to answer the door and then stay awake for 30 or 60 minutes?” And then the meetings. I was the overnight manager and staff meetings were at 2pm on Thursday and they’d make me come in. I HATED THAT. No one though anything of asking me to leave at 7am and come back at 2pm for an hour meeting then leave and come back later on that night at 11pm. And that leaves out the fact it took me an hour to commute to the hotel. So on Thursdays I not only lost sleep but four hours of commute time

Fortuantely I worked in a hotel so I’d fool them. Someone checked out, I wouldn’t check them out of the system. I’d just take their key and give them a bill then go up to the room and mark “late 2pm c/o” on the registration card and sleep up in that room.


I once worked in a hospital emergency room as an admissions clerk. The day shift was 7-3, the evening from 3-11, and the graveyard from 11-7, and I worked them all.

I HATED HATED HATED the evening shift. You were never able to shift your schedule to match it; you wound up sleeping more or less normal hours, but never really got caught up.

Day shift was OK. But I LOVED night shift. Yes, you had to totally revamp your life to fit, but, once you did that it worked fine. Also, the hospital at night was a much smaller and more intimate community, with a sense of being all in it together. I never had to identify myself when calling a floor or ward, which I had to do fairly often. As the ER was the night entrance to the building, all pizzas ordered came through me, and I usually managed to get a one-slice commission for my trouble. I was sad when time came for me to leave the job and go back to school.

I’d say just the opposite - it was hard when I worked night shifts when I was young; I think it would kill me now. The sense of community on the night shifts was nice, though, I’ll agree with that.

Another thing: If, like me, you have chronic depression, it’s exacerbated by a lifestyle where you’re up when it’s dark out and trying to sleep when it’s light. And it’s also exacerbated by not having a social life and not getting quality sleep.

I worked overnights for about five years, and I really miss it. Yes, it is difficult if you have a family and the other spouse works: but if you have a stay-at-home spouse it works really well. If I were to revert to my nautral sleep patterns, I’d sleep from about 7:30am-3:30pm. I’m actually more awake and get more stuff done on the graveyard shift that I do on a normal day shift.