Dealing With Working Third Shift


So, I’m writing this post because today is my first day back to work. I work 3 days a week, on 12 hour shifts. YES, I work nights. June 2016, I graduated from college and in July 2016 I started my job. I work on the Psychiatric Unit in a hospital, so at least my nights usually aren’t boring, but the struggle of working third effects me more than just the days I work.

I’m not really a night owl, but I’m not an early bird either. I can sleep during the day or at night, I JUST NEED SLEEP. When I found out I was going to have to work third, lets just say I was less than excited. I mean I was grateful for being fresh out of school and getting a job, but not excited about having to change my entire life around basically.

For those of you who don’t work third or have never experienced it, you really don’t understand until you’ve done it. When I first started working, I swore I was going to die from sleep deprivation. It took me about 2-3 weeks to actually begin to be accustom to working nights. Once my body became adjusted to working nights, it wasn’t so bad. I was able to sleep during the day, thanks to black out shades and a noise machine.

But, I have really began to notice the effects working third has had on my body. I work Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so I get off Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. I will sleep until about 2:30 p.m on Sundays and then try to be back on everyone elses’ schedule. Sundays are the most difficult. Six hours of sleep after a long night, just isn’t enough, but you got to make it work. I usually end up crashing around 8:00 p.m because it’s hard to even hold my eyes open.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday my energy has diminished too. I have to make myself get up and go because if I don’t, then I have trouble sleeping on those nights. Then Thursday comes and I try to sleep until about 3:00 p.m Thursday, but that never happens. I go into work at 7:00 p.m and get off at like 7:30 a.m.

I guess this post was a post for me to vent about the struggles of third. For those of you that work third too I’m going to list some things I have found that help me get through the work days and the regular week:

  • Wake up at least 2 hours before you have to go in.
  • As soon as you wake up drink coffee or something with caffeine!
  • No naps. Get home from work, shower, sleep until the last minute. Waking up and going back to sleep makes it harder.
  • During your shift have small snacks every couple of hours, for energy. (Hummus is a great one and fruit).
  • Coffee or another form of caffeine is great during your shift.
  • DON’T drink any caffeine within 2 hours of getting off (i.e. if you get off at 7 a.m. don’t drink any caffeine at or after 5 a.m.)
  • During the day when you are sleeping try blackout curtains to make your room dark are awesome. Here is a link to the type of curtains I have. I will say if you get the darker colored curtains like blue or black, they work better than the lighter colors.
  • Make sure if you live with people to tell them to be quiet while you are sleeping (that is where a noise machine helps), but making sure you get sleep is very important.
  • Throughout the night make sure you have a set time that you eat dinner. For instance I eat my actual meal at about 2:00 a.m. and  I eat a few snacks in between, this helps give you energy the entire shift.
  • As soon as you wake up before work make sure you eat, this time is like your breakfast, so don’t starve yourself waiting to eat until dinner time at work.
  • Drink lots of water. Changing your bodies natural cycles can effect you in many ways, so making sure you are drinking lots of water and are up increasing circulation can help with energy and making sure you have regulated bowl movements.

This photo is one thing that I love about working 3rd. You can watch the sunset (unless it’s daylight savings time), but you can always watch the sun rise. And I live in North Carolina where the rise and set of the sun are both beautiful.

*I took this photo leaving work one morning.*


If you have any hacks of getting through life working third shift please comment below. Subscribe and share this post, please!


Photo: “Night Shift” by Konstantin Pavlov License cc by 2.0

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