When do you sleep? When do you eat? When do you spend time with your family? All questions a third shifter has to ask themselves. Raising a family and living a “normal” life can be difficult for those who work overnight. As humans, we live by the clock, we are slaves to the clock! So, what do you do when you have to switch the times of everything you are so used to doing regularly? It’s not simple.
The first thing to focus on is your physical health. You need to eat, sleep, and drink to survive. Don’t give up on any of these things. The idea is to reschedule your life, and stick to the new routine. Check out our tips on how to stay healthy during your life change.
1. ZzzzZZZzzzzzzzzz Sleep!
This is the hardest element to perfect while working the third shift because it takes so long! Generally, you need eight hours to be truly functioning properly. Don’t forget that these eight hours really only work well when they are continuous. A lot of times, third shifters will break up their hours in order to spend time with their family and try to align their lives with those on a normal schedule. Don’t do this! You will not be fully prepared for your next shift without proper sleep.
a. Have a sleep ritual. Whether that’s heading home and taking a nice shower and then climbing into bed or helping your wife gets the kids to work, having a good hearty meal and then heading to bed, make sure it is consistent.
b. Buy some ear plugs. Especially if you have kids. The noise that happens throughout the day can be disturbing to your sleep.
c. Avoid sleeping pills and caffeine. These can become addictive!
2. Nom Nom Nom.
Eating a healthy diet is hard for most third shifters. While everyone else is sleeping, their body is running on full blast, and working up an appetite! Make sure you don’t skip meals, and try to eat when everyone else is eating, this will not work for you.
a. Don’t binge on McDonald’s right after your shift. This will not allow your body to rest when you need it most. Your body will be focused on digesting instead of relaxing.
b. Drink water. All the time. OK?
c. Time your meals as you would working the first shift.
3. Getting through your overnight shift. It will take some time to get used to having a different schedule. Here are some small ways that you can make the time go by more easily.
a. Exercise. This may sound crazy but use those breaks you’re allotted to stretch your legs, go for a walk! Don’t just sit down and eat a turkey sandwich (turkey makes you sleep, by the way) Exercise gives you endorphin’s!
b. Listen to music, just like when you’re on a long road trip, music can help you stay awake and will help you focus on something other than your droopy eyelids!
c. Schedule some time to talk or hang out with your family. When one doesn’t feel like they are doing their job as a sister, daughter, parent or spouse it can weigh heavily on them. Take time in the morning to call your family when they are just waking up, or before your shift when they are headed to bed. Trust me, it will make you feel much better!
Would you ever work third shift?