Working a nightshift, 20 things I wish I knew before I started!

Not being accustomed to working nights before this week, here are some thing’s I’ve learnt during the first 4 x 12 hour nights I’ve just had to do!

  • It’s  a lot harder than I thought!
  • Don’t expect to be more productive even though it’s ‘quieter’
  • React to email requests from the day team as soon as your on shift, you won’t feel like it later!
  • Try to attack a task at the start of the shift, it makes the 1st few hours fly by if your attention is consumed by something.
  • Walk… I do a number of loops around the building just to get the blood moving a few times during the night. Not been stopped by security yet!
  • I tried a 30min snooze around lunchtime (2am) but Im not sure how beneficial it was?
  • 5am is really crap – Your exhausted, have a headache, have 3 hours left and BBC breakfast news hasn’t stated yet. (BBC breakfast TV makes me feel that it’s almost time to head home!)
  • Bring a jumper, it gets cool around 3am.
  • Buy elasticated trousers…. I’ve ended up eating lots and it’s not all been good foods.
  • Optrex – buy some to freshen your eyes in the early hours. It’s lush.
  • Bring a book, newspaper or magazine. Get your eyes off your Laptop/Desktop screens every so often.
  • Eat before you get home, on your journey home if possible.
  • Set an alarm on the train journey home, it WILL happen!
  • Go straight to bed when you get home. You will accumulate lots of sleep debt hours over the 4 shifts, don’t plan any tasks for home. It really is a Bed-Journey-Office-Journey-Bed cycle with 12 hours on – 12 off. An extra hour asleep can make the night a lot easier.
  • Invest in thick bedroom curtains.
  • Don’t order things online to be delivered whilst your off shift. You’ll want to punch the postman when he rings the bell, which is a shame as he’s a decent chap. (Every sodding day this week!)
  • Turn off your phone email when at home, if your phone needs to be on for emergencies fine. But emails are not urgent, silence them.
  • If you do wake in the afternoon try to get back to sleep! Honest I tried the ‘Well Im awake I’ll go do something for a few hours’ and promptly crashed the next night, but I did watch a good program about Rallying in the 80’s.
  • Enjoy the spaced out feeling once the shift is over as you walk to the bus or station, I feel like I’m floating… who needs drugs! There’s also something nice about walking against the flow of people streaming into London. Hope I don’t’ look that miserable each morning!
  • Think… Don’t volunteer yourself quite so quickly for dumb shifts again! ;o)