I have a job that requires me to work nights for considerable parts of the year. My schedule varies – but usually I come in around 11pm and I leave around 7am.
There’s a lot about this shift that can be tough. It is hard to sleep during the day. It can be hard to make appointments during hours when you are awake. Sometimes friends will go long periods of time without seeing you.
But there are some upsides too – the gym is way less crowded at 9pm than it is at 9am. I almost never have to wait in line at the grocery store late at night. And I can attend off-peak fitness classes.
I have a couple of tips of how to make working nights a little less taxing. I should say from the outset that I am not an expert in anything – so please take what I say with a grain of salt!
Prioritize your sleep. You have to guard this with your life. On days when you don’t need to make an appointment at 11:30am, don’t. Tell friends and family that you will need your rest, and stick to your sleep plan. A couple of things that make sleeping easier? Blackout shades, a good sleep mask, and a white noise machine. I bought this one, and it’s eliminated my need to use earplugs. Having some way to block out the noise is essential, because there are so many noises during the day.
EAT AND DRINK
I really try to focus on my nutrition while I’m working nights. I plan meals out in advance, and try to keep them balanced. My stomach is a little funny at night, so I try to keep things simple. I usually have a small sandwich and some sort of fruit when I get in. Then, around 6am, I grab a pot of overnight oats. I love overnight oats, and I have a couple of recipes I rotate through. One constant? Big Spoon Roasters . I think that they simply make the best nut butters out there. I am a bit of a nut butter freak, but once I had Big Spoon Roasters there was no looking back.
My favorite flavos is Chai Spice. If you like the spices of chai, this is AMAZING. I keep my cupboard stocked, and I use the little pot we got at Southern Bird Camp to keep at my desk at work. Sometimes, I will just dip my spoon in for a little sweet treat.
I also like to keep a big bottle of water with me. My Picky Bars Hydro Flask is great, because it keeps water cool for a LONG time. I’m often sitting at my desk for awhile, and I love having cold water. The Hydro Flasks will also keep your water cold even in a hot car. I’ve used mine at the beach, at the track after a hot run – they’re amazing. Fair warning, they’re little spendy upfront, but definitely worth the investment in my opinion.
MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
This is something I have to constantly remind myself to do. Working nights has a way of making me feel off, I often say I feel like a slug – dragging my body along. I realize it’s not the prettiest picture, but I don’t know how else to describe it. When the weather is cooler, I like to go for a run in the morning after work. When it’s hot, I’ll usually go to sleep right after work. Occasionally I’ll go to an early morning yoga class or a strength training class. I’ve become a huge fan of [solidcore] which is a workout that TOTALLY kicks my butt and gets me ready for sleep.
I like to try new studios, and new workouts when I’m working nights, too. It really gives me something to look forward to, and it feels like a bit of an indulgence. These aren’t always classes at a studio, sometimes I’ll just pull a workout off of my pinterest board or find a workout video on YouTube.
When working nights, I like to keep a set of workout clothes with me, just in case I am inspired to workout and I don’t have a workout planned.
Having a little personal care ritual is key to making me feel a little more with it. I don’t wear makeup when working nights, and I don’t usually dress up. So having little things like face masks and good lip balm help me feel with it.
This is just what I have on hand in my work bag, but I’m a big fan of self-care rituals that feel like little pampering moments. This cooling eye stick so so soothing for me at night. And though the Sugar lip balm is pricey, it’s a little luxury I always allow myself. Another ritual I love is hydrating gel masks. I’ll use one per week while I’m working nights. I justify it by saying I’m saving money by not eating out for lunch, and each mask costs about the same as a lunch out.My favorites right now are the Boscia Tsubaki Oil Deep Hydrating Hydrogel Mask and the Farmacy Hydrating Coconut gel mask.
I do suffer from migraines, so I always try to keep some pain relievers on hand. This small travel Advil bottle holds some advil, as well as a couple of my migraine pills (just in case). I find that if I’m able to nip my migraines in the bud, sometimes I can keep them at bay.
HAVE A CREATIVE OUTLET
One thing that is hugely important for me is having a little creative outlet I can turn to. Sometimes I feel really isolated, like I haven’t left my house but to go to work. I have found that when my “maker” instinct is appeased, I felt much better.
For me, I love turning to knitting. It’s portable, and something I can do in downtime. I usually schedule projects that are easy to put down and pick up again. I’ve also enjoyed learning to sew a lot lately. I can think of so many things that would be relaxing – learning a new skill, practicing an old one…anything that gets those creative juices flowing. Staying inspired is so important.
Those are some of the things I do to help making working nights a little easier! I hope this is helpful for those of you who might also work nights, or have a friend/family member who works nights!
**All of the links above are to products I have purchased with my own money. There are no sponsors of this post.