Thursday, April 07, 2011

Night Shift - Advantages and Disadvantages

Believe it or not, the OT saga is still on. I've been working for 18 days straight now, and I can already feel the exhaustion creeping in to my core. Even if I'm getting ample sleep, it's not enough to make me feel energized when I wake up in the morning. My body's just dragging my spirit to the office now, and that's why I'm still able to report to work normally.

But that's not what I'm writing about, actually. The thing is, our team will now be working the night shift starting April 18. Meaning, our work time will be from 8PM to 5AM. The "lunch" break will be at 12MN, and the 15-minute breaks will happen at 10PM and 3AM respectively.


We really don't have a choice since the rest of our department is at night shift, and it will be more convenient for the company when it finally happens. The team was originally in the night shift (I wasn't employed yet), but it was moved to the day, and now it's back. No, we're not a call center. It's quite hard to explain what we do, and I don't want to get myself into trouble for divulging details about the company, so let's just leave it at that.

So that's why I'm writing about the advantages and disadvantages of the night shift. Here's what I think:

ADVANTAGES
  1. Convenience - The commute will be more convenient for me since I will be avoiding the traffic of Metro Manila, which I'm caught up in every day. That means, I can leave the house an hour before my shift starts, as compared to what I'm doing at present which is leaving two hours before. Therefore, I will have more time in my hands.
  2. Timing on personal chores - I will be able to do things (such as paying bills, buying groceries, even exercising) that I usually am not able to do (or hurry up to accomplish) since most establishments close up a few hours after the end of my shift. I'm not sure about the exercising part, but I think I can come up with more activities that I can finally do when the change happens. Like what I said in #1, I will have more time.
  3. More pay - Night shift differential pay. Money money money. 'Nuff said.
DISADVANTAGES
  1. Bad health - I know my body, and I'm certain that I won't be able to sleep well during the day. The light and heat of the sun, the noise of the neighbors and of cars passing by our house --  they will keep me from slumber. And we all know what happens to our body when we don't get enough sleep. My circadian rhythm will get disrupted for a while, but I know it will recover. It's the wrecked sleeping habit (and the subsequent effects on health) that I am most terrified of.
  2. Too much silence - The rules are different in our office during the night shift, and one of the changes that I will have to face is that we won't be able to talk to each other that much anymore. I know it should be an advantage for me because I will be able to concentrate more on my work, but I tend to get sleepy when the environment is too static, and that's a big problem. Sleeping in the office is a big no-no.
  3. Dependence on food - Two things. First, I will have to get used to eating food from convenience stores such as 7-11 and Mini Stop. And second, I will most likely be resorting to eating to keep myself awake, and that will make me even more fat.
  4. Less family, social, and love life - I'm not so sure about this, but these three aspects of my boring life will most likely be affected negatively. I will be asleep when the rest of the world is awake, so it will be tougher for me to bond with my family and friends and also find love among the few people left awake during the night.
 
There are more detriments than benefits, but is it really in the number? Did I miss out on something that I should prepare myself for? Help me out here, dear readers. And I also need some advice on how to adjust my body successfully to the change and how to survive the following days. Please please pleeeeeaaase give me some tips!

I must admit, it's my health that I'm truly scared about. I don't wanna be a regular in the hospital, or worse -- die early! LOL. But I guess I just have to try it out first before I make any decisions whatsoever. I have to stick to my goals.

Update (4/23): The shift to night schedule will commence at the beginning of May.
Update (5/15): The shift began on May 9. I'm one week in now.

20 comments:

  1. Wow I've never experienced night shift before. I've seen the effects on people I know and most of the time, it's not pretty. Some people get used to it, some people just don't. I guess, as with most changes, all you can do to be able to enjoy the advantages despite the dis- is to prepare. Physically and mentally.

    Anyway, good luck on that! I wish I can say something helpful tho, lol. You look like you're happy with your job naman because you did not consider quitting. May it be a rewarding experience for your team. =)

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  2. Thanks for the tip, Dani! Although I got a bit more scared, haha. Yep, I'm happy with my work, so wala PA sa isip ko yan, hehe. Thanks again! =)

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  3. I worked on nights for almost 2 years (11 pm - 7 am) and it's really not that bad. Firstly, don't even TRY to get used to nights before they actually begin. You'll be surprised at how easy it'll be once you're actually doing it. It's impossible to prepare for it other than to just do it.

    Breakfast will be your friend. Instead of going out for drinks, we always went out for breakfasts, so that's going to be your new dinner. That also means you don't have to eat typical breakfast foods either. Dinner foods are just as good at that time (though harder to find in restaurant situations).

    Also, there were many times when I actually didn't get to bed until 3 or 4 in the afternoon (and my job was quite physical). So as long as the get-together or what have you is before then, you should be able to do it. Since your hours are kind of the "unfriendly" type (I much prefer the 11-7, it's more natural), you can definitely have a nap when you first get home and then do something later if you wanted to. It's not impossible.

    That also means that you should be able to get groceries, too, just like normal. You already take your lunch so I assume you cook for yourself. You don't have to rely on all-night convenience stores.

    As for sleeping, invest in some good black-out curtains, a sleep mask if you have to, and if it's really necessary, get some ear plugs. It sucks to have to wear them to bed, but you gotta do, right? You might have a problem getting to sleep for the first few nights, but eventually, you'll just be too tired not to.

    Anyway... that's all I can really say about it. Feel free to ask if you come up with any more questions. I kinda liked it. It was definitely one of the better jobs I've had! =)

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  4. Thanks for the hefty and useful comment, Idle Wife! I'm actually surprised that you didn't mention any negative stuff that you experienced while adjusting to the lifestyle. You made it sound easy, so I guess I shouldn't really be afraid of it. Yup, I've already borrowed a night mask/blindfold from my mom, and I think it would be of help. Ear plugs? Well, I just have to find out where they sell those here in our country, hahaha. Anyway, thanks for taking time to drop by and give me these tips. I appreciate it a lot! =)

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  5. Tip: Find a new "inspiration" at work. LOL!

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  6. Hahaha! Hello, crazy officemate! We'll see when we get there. *wink* =)

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  7. ok, let's make this quick sir.
    first, sorry ngayun ko lang nabasa yung comment/msg mo dun sa blog ko. a month ago na pala yun. :))
    bale magkaiba pala tayo ng working envt.
    ikaw e sa office. ako sa hosp. hmmm, tama yung na mention mo sa blog mo, mawawasak talaga body clock nating mga night shifters, pero mind over matter lang naman yun sir. importante e 8hrs sleep/day. pero syempre, mas healthy nga talaga pag ginagawa natin ang sleep during night time. ang ginagawa ko kase pag dating ko sa bahay from duty(10-6), kakain ako ng light to heavy meal tas fresh milk, solve na ko dun. direcho tulog na. normal lang siguro pag minsan na hindi straight yung tulog natin, magigising at magigising tayo in bet our sleep, iba kase talaga pag umaga e, madaming stimuli basta mahala e makapag charge yung katawan/mind natin. wag tayo ma stress kung medyo bitin tulog natin. :D

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  8. @Rafaeleonidas: But the thing is, I can't get 8 hours of sleep. Lately, I've only been getting 3 to 5 hours, and the consequences are really bad. Like I get super sleepy at work. :( My body finds it really hard to adjust. Ano ba pwede kong gawin?

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  9. I'm from birmingham. UK and about to go onto night shifts. I'm currently on days where the amount of paperwork is beyond ridiculous. On top of that the new manager is a w.?,.r. I've done nights before so know what to expect. Lack of sleep and weight variations are my issues. Like you my hours are the unfriendly type, 8.30pm - 7.30am but i intend to make it work. I will sick my fathtdp from school at 3pm most days so i can see her more than i used to. My hours now are 11am to 10pm. And in case ur wondering, i work in a hostel for the homeless and ex convicts. Nice.

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  10. why dont you study higher and get into a good company??????

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  11. yeah that was really important tips i have tried a lot to share that with my friends, but did not get chance to leave my massage to them now i should add all my comments that i have passed such a difficult time with a night shift work, i really wana mention the organization i was working with was a telecommunication company that named Roshan, TDCA in Afghanistan, and i was working as Network Engineer, and i was much in trouble with a 20hours or sometimes a 24hours working shift, sometimes i had no chance for having bath too, so after working a long time of 2 years, i faced with a serious sickness, so i have gona to Pakistan for treatment and after a one month operation i had come back and was much healthy, so by coming back to Afghanistan i have resigned from my job and joined another job with a day shift and i am so happy now, and so as i mentioned the name the organization because of having much bad rememberance.

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    Replies
    1. Well we are looking for suggestions for those who are meant to work at night. But your condition is much more developed i mean to you are working at night and day also. My friend we are humans not machines. Take care..

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  12. hi, i also work in night shift, well yeah everything mentioned above is totally correct. it's kinda hard to sleep at the day than at night and i'm also depending on chocolates to boost my energy so that i may be able to sound jolly and friendly over the phone... but what i'm doing is thinking of weekends as well as the end of shift.lol. not a helpful comment tho :)

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  13. hey, I work 3-4 days a week in the night shift, doing full time university during the day. I leave home to go to work around 8pm, and get home around 5am. It usually takes me an hour or so to wind down after I get home from work, so sometimes I'll study and then go to the gym, then go to school, and get home around 2pm and sleep then instead. I can sleep 5-6 hours and then go to work from there. The night shift hasn't really hurt me that much, it takes a little bit of getting used to. I find that it's harder to eat because I'm working and don't think of food and forget to go shopping and don't have that much food around me.

    One thing that I love about the gas stations around here are that they have this thing, 'carnations breakfast' type chocolate drink that has no added sugar, for $2.50. It's very balanced and good for you and I grab it on the way to school often.

    Another piece of advice would be to cut off your coffee intake relatively early in the night if you want to go to sleep right when you get home. I usually cut mine off after midnight or one in the morning if I want to sleep before school. If you're drinking a lot of creamy and sugary coffee it can be bad for you and the calories (and weight) can sneak up on you. If you drink a lot of coffee while working I suggest letting it cool and mixing it black half and half with diet cola. It doesn't sound appetizing but a few years back Coke had a product called "Coca Cola Black" which was half cola half black coffee. It's surprisingly good and refreshing and wakes you up without all that extra fat and sugar. I would invest in lots of water and some dried fruit and fresh veggies for your desk if you're the snacking type. If nobody is allergic to nuts maybe also some trail mix.

    Hope I could be helpful :)

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  14. Ill be honest,im an emt for a transport company. I work only nights and there have been more downfalls than perks! You gain weight (for me almost 30 pounds),my sleep patterns decreased from 7 hours to 3-4 which are never solid fulfilling hours but rather a compilation of naps. In a night I can easily run 911/stat calls,drive half way across the state for a bls transport, or run my you know what off doing calls and completing charts,its hectic. Granted to keep myself awake I started smoking again,and my anxiety has resurfaced.its really a lifestyle you never truely adjust to persay. I will say the traffic is better and my small group is more of a family. I however dont get the advantage of a shift differential,which kinda sorta sucks. But all in all after a year im still on the graveyard. Maybe you will like it or at least get accostomed to it good luck!

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  15. Welll . I am working in night shift since 1st of october it has been almost 3 months . It makes you physically weak and you dont have a sicial life at all . I am off work only once in a week so the day time you had to sleep and in nights you cant really do much so i will prefer day shifts as compared to night.

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  16. I'VE been doing night shift about 8 months now... i work for the post office so it is physical. I sleep at odd hours during the day ( usually from 1-5 in the afternoon then am woken by the family as they get home from work etc. Then more sleep from 7-10 then work at 10:30 or 11.) I never have energy on off days and to make it worse my off days are always split. On off days I will literally sleep all day from like 1pm to 7, then eat then sleep 8pm til like 3 then wake up at 3 refreshed and can't sleep again till noon.it's slowly taking a toll on me and my health but alas, the pay is great and It's pretty lax at work. Can listen to music and though you always have to work w a partner, talking is really optional. Unfortunately, I can no longer sleep a full night. I had Christmas weekend off and woke up at 1am for the past 3 nights... that sucks.

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  17. Great im working n BPO me too n nyt Shift 1ly...
    we are enjoying more in nyt with frds...
    My Shift timing s 10.30 pm to 6.00 am..

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  18. Hi, I found many useful ways from your blog. It is really amazing for us. Thanks for giving me a space in your blog. Thanks I also visit again.Learn massage online

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  19. hey night job always better than day job in term of stress....

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