Working the "Graveyard Shift" (also known as the night shift and third shift,) can often be very rigorous on an individual's health and well-being. Science tells us that we are all tuned to our circadian rhythm, the biological clock that regulates our sleep cycle, among many other things. Not everyone is comfortable in upsetting their body's natural habits, so working odd hours might be a big strain on someone not used to the shift. By following a few simple rules, staying awake and alert overnight should be no problem whatsoever.
Rule #1: Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
Maintaining a normal pattern of sleep is the most important aspect of keeping your head on straight during the odd working hours. For those of us who have trouble falling asleep or difficulty napping, this is even more crucial. Dedicate a specific period of time to sleep during the day, either right after getting off or at a certain hour of the day. If a regular routine is not established, you might risk skipping sleep altogether and end up dozing off on the job.
Rule #2: Keep Your Mind and Body Active
While surfing the web is an awesome way to kill time and stay awake during the twilight hours, many employers forbid the use of electronics during working hours. In the event that you are not physically active while at work, it is important to find other ways to keep occupied. First, try to be productive and do any necessary busywork for your company. Making lists (such as to-do lists, grocery lists, etc...) or other notes on a notepad is also helpful. And, if you notice that you start to doze or become too tired, walking or another form of physical activity is great way to stay alert.
Rule #3: Eat!
While the change in sleeping and eating patterns can start poor habits, it is important to eat in order to remain focused and awake. Consuming healthy foods, such as raw vegetables and fruits, should provide healthy energy overnight. Specifically, apples provide a great amount of natural food energy. In addition, caffeinated beverages are a toold to be used carefully. Coffee and tea can easily become habitual and cause dependence, and should be used only when needed.