I am considering a new job that will involve working nights/overnight, 11:30 PM-8AM. Of course, I will have to discuss it with DH first (and nail the interview ), but since I am mostly considering the job in order to afford a horse, I wanted to seek input from those who have experienced such a schedule.
I have a day job now, but I don't get paid much. If I get the night job, I will make about $8,000 more per year.
For those of you who work nights/overnights/shift work, do you have time/energy to ride? Do you ride before work (evenings) or after (mornings)? What do you think are the pros and cons of this type of schedule? Thanks for your help
Last edited by The Centaurian; Dec. 3, 2010 at 06:48 PM.
I did it for about a month. I hated it. A LOT. Usually did my chores and whatnot in the morning after I got off and then tried to crash 8 hours before I needed to get up and get ready for work. It seriously messes with you though, and I remember hearing about a study showing that the longer you work/stay up past a certain time bracket the shorter your lifespan. Plus you need to make sure you have a lightproof room to sleep in. Some people like it I suppose, but it was torture for me.
I worked nights and was in school full time. I didn't have a set schedule at all other than school or work. If I got out of work in the morning and felt like I had all kinds of energy then I went to the barn. If I was tired I went to bed and when I got up I would go out then. Same at the end of school, though I tried to get out most nights.
I lived out of my crockpot and freezer, had enough socks and undergarments for 10 days without laundry, and just settled with my house not being as clean and tidy as I would like it. I swept every day, but my floors didn't get washed every other day, and I couldn't find my kitchen table for most of the year.
The hardest part of working nights was what to do with my days off. My friends didn't have my schedule, so in order to see them I had to be up during the day (completly unnatural to me at that point) and basically screw up my sleep schedule.
The good thing was that the barn owner was cool with whenever I wanted to come out. 6am? 9pm? so long as I cleaned up after myself and if it was night did her night check for her it was all good. A couple nights we even went on midnight trail rides together. Good times!
I worked PT nights for a while. I agree with the others; it isn't easy. It is hard to fall asleep even when the house is silent and the bedroom is pitch black. Your body knows its still daytime outside.
I always came home and fell asleep, then did my horse stuff before going to work again.
I am a nurse and work a lot of nights, some 12hr shifts, some 8hr shifts. Generally, I don't mind working nights but only work about 24 - 32 hrs a week. I find from 4am-530am is the hardest time for me to stay awake, so I try to take my break during that time and go get some fresh air...
Nights are not for everyone. I would suggest that before you accept the job (if offered), you try a week of nights to see if its a fit for you. I've never known an employer that wouldn't allow this as finding and keeping good night shift employees can be difficult.
keeping yourself on a schedule is really important when working nights. Figure out what works, and stick to it. When I get home, I feed and go to bed. If I'm going back in that night, I try to sleep a bit longer. I go for a ride in the afternoon and try to take a nap before going back in. If I'm not going back in, I take a short nap in the morning , get up and ride then go to bed early. Use an alarm clock. Summers are harder because of the amount of daylight. Blackout shades are critical.
I have found that there tends to be more junk food around at night and staying away from it takes a lot of willpower. It'll drag you down FAST....took me a while to figure that one out. Drink lots of water, stay away from coffee. I find that I eat several small meals throughout the 24hr period.
There are times when I don't feel like "riding"-focused, working on an issue, etc. Those days, I just go for a hack, do trot sets but I try to keep those days low key. Otherwise, working nights and riding is do-able. Just takes some getting used to. And the paycheck isn't so bad!
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages that only you can weigh.
You may find that you need chemical help adjusting your body to the new sleep schedule, at least initially. Try to stick to the same schedule on days off too. That can be the hard part. It is VERY hard to flip-flop back and forth. That whole circadian rhythm thing.
Shift work gives me a chance to have daytime to do horse stuff or spend with the kids, or even do dr. appts. and stuff like that. But it tends to cut into family time with significant other, or if you have kids in school. Mine are still little. For me, I hate the midnights. 4-12's are OK. I'm actually starting a swing shift in July that is the best of both worlds for me (1-9). I have mornings that I can alternatively spend with horses and kids, and then I'll still get home early enough from work to spend time with Mr. MO and possibly even put the older kid to bed.
I think these alternative shifts tend to work best for those who are young and don't have a family (spouse/kids) yet, or those whose children are now adults. Otherwise it can be very tricky to balance everything.
The biggest advantage to most midnight shifts is that they are usually so many days on, so many days off (i.e. 4 days on, 4 days off is the deal that they do where I work). If the job called for 5 days of midnights with only 2 days off, I'd have to pass.
I work days and evenings, sometimes not finishing work until 3am. I have worked 12 midnight-8a, and that shift does not work well for me. I am out of it for several days after finishing a stretch of night shifts. I can't sleep during the daytime for more than 3 or 4 hours, so I am not functional. In contrast, my daughter can work night shift and sleep happily all day. This worked well for her during the summer time as she could ride during the cool, evening, hours.
See if you can try working a few night to see if you adjust to it. Some people adjust easily. For others, it is torture.
Was a nurse for 27 years and for the last 11 I worked nights....some shifts were 8 hours (11p to 7:30a) and some were 12's (6:45p to 7:15a)....and for much of that I was a single mom with two boys and a ranch with up to 45 horses to keep running. For several years my days off were always mid week (if you are an RN, willing to work nights and weekends and holidays you can work anywhere!). It was hard. I would get home after the kids did morning feeding/watering and stoked the woodstove, check on them and go to bed... sleep until maybe noon. Get up, ride, do housework, do bookkeeping chores, whatever, until the kids got home from school about 3:30p. Then we'd do afternoon chores, they'd do homework while I cooked dinner, we ate and then (if doing 8 hour shifts) I'd go back to bed for 2-3 hours. If doing 12's I'd sleep longer in the morning..to maybe 2p. Days off were hard....get home and try to stay up all day to accommodate sleeping at night that night... and split days off (which hospitals seem to love!) were really bad....either stay on the same schedule (not a lot to do from 11p to 7a in a country home in the middle of winter...pre-computer days) or stay up 24 hours, sleep one night, stay up the next 24 hours. When I moved to a day shift job my younger son, about 9 at the time, sat down next to me, put his arm around my shoulder, gave me an evil grin and said "sure glad you moved to days, mom"...and I, who should have known better, said "why is that?". The grin got more evil and the arm around my shoulder a bit tighter and he said, straight faced, "because you were getting to be a bitch to live with." The unfortunate thing is that he was right.
Now in early 60's, single, kids grown and gone from home, 22 horses on my own 40 acre place.....doing almost exclusively breeding with occasional trail rides. Self-employed delivery route. Up at 1:15a and on the road, back home about 7a after stopping at grocery and feed stores, mailbox. Feed, water, check everyone, breakfast for me and then up all day until about 6p (to bed after feeding critters and eating light dinner). No days off....been almost 4 years without a day/night off. Still hard to do. No social life to speak of.
Advantages...I can drop to sleep anywhere, anytime....learned self-hypnosis about 25 years ago and three deep breaths and I'm gone, just like turning off a switch. I get daytimes to do all the stuff that everyone else has to squeeze in on weekends or after dark. No crowds at the grocery store even for Wed sales. No lines at DMV. Even the vets office isn't packed.
I work in TV, 12 hour overnight shifts, from 6PM to 6AM. First thing I will say is that you are either a Night Person or Not. If you are not, it's going to be a horrible experience for you; I had coworkers who couldn't deal with the overnight to the point of becoming physically ill and needing to be moved to the day shift. Me, I'm happy as a clam, and absolutely do not require any more sleep than the average person (I'm not sure why you would?). I've worked days, and am completely miserable getting up that early. That's really the big negative.
On the plus side, I've got a two week rotational schedule, so I get weekdays off some weeks, and three day weekends every other week. It makes it really easy to schedule hair/doctor/vet etc appointments, because you can just pick any time on a day you're off without having to worry about getting off work. I tend to stop at the grocery store on the way home in the morning, and there is NO ONE grocery shopping at 6AM, which is fabulous. Because of the distance from my house to where my mare is boarded, I just don't ride the days I work, but that might depend on how far you live from work/your horse, and what kind of hours you're working. On days I do go ride, I like being able to go ride midday, because there's pretty much no one else out riding and I've got the ring to myself.
It takes careful work to maintain a swing shift schedule. You have to be pretty strict with yourself. Set a schedule and stay with it. it will take a while to get used to it but it works. I've found the key for me is to avoid sunlight durning my sleep time. You may not be able to sleep a full 8 hours the first few days but DON'T let yourself be exposed to sunlight during those hours, even artificial lights can be bad. Sunlight resets you're circadian clock, avoid it and you can fool yourself into thinking it's night when you need to sleep.
I actually find I have more time to work with my horse when I am on swings as opposed to days. My barn doesn't have an indoor or lights, so I am limited to daylight hours for riding. With a swings schedule my off hours are almost all daylight hours. With your shift I would probably riding in the mornings after work, then sleep and go to work.
You'll want to factor in when your spouse is home and active, if your riding facility is lit, and how well you adjust to shift work. I thrive on it, and never needed more sleep. Though I will admit, when I don't have to get up at a certain time for work it is very easy to oversleep, wasting much of the day. Keeping to a strict shcedule can help that, even if it means getting up when you really really want to keep sleeping.
I have worked nights for 3 years now and I love it! Believe it or not I am a total morning person, not night owl. Before I started nights my husband would tell me, there is no way you can stay up all night, you fall asleep on the couch at 830 every night!
Here is what works for me:
First I love my job. Its my passion so it makes it easier for me to work those crappy hours.
2nd I make getting sleep a priority! Everyone in the house from the dogs to the kids know that when mom is sleeping, do not disturb or there is severe consequences!
3rd my bed room is made dark as possible and I use a white noise if people are in the house.
4th I keep a fairly strict schedule.On my first change over day ( the day I start my 3 day work week), I take a 3 hour nap during the day. On the days I have worked a full shift, I sleep 6-7 hours. On my last change over day ( the last night of my week ) I come home and take a 3-4 hour nap.
5) when I am not working I keep regular hours like "normal " people. The first and last change over days are more difficult. My first night at work I am a little tired, and the last day I am ready for bed fairly early since I only had a short nap.
The reason I love these hours is because it allows me to be flexible. If something happens during the day, I am home to get the kids out of school. I don't like being woken up, but i am close and its easier then having to either miss work or leave early for them. I never have to pay for childcare because I am home sleeping during the day, and husband is home at night. I actually spend more time with the kids because instead of working a 9 hour day( 8 plus lunch) 5days a week, I work 3 12s. working 8-5 m-f by the time i would get home from work, we had diner and homework and then it was bedtime! and when would I ever find time to get to the barn, and gym, and soccer practice, and spend time with the hubby?
I work 6-6 wed thru fri, so I go to the barn Sun, mon tues, and wed morning before I take my nap. Then I generally go either THurs or fri morning when I get off work before I go to bed, depending on my schedule. I admit the days I work are crammed full and I rarely have time for anything else but work and i see the hubby in passing! But its only 3 days a week.
I know not everyone can work these hours, but again for me they are great because I CAN go with out sleeping say on Saturdays for a long time. My kids have soccer games I try to stay up for, and I have gone to clinics and training with zero sleep. I've slept in vehicles during long drives, and trailers before. Once I even slept outside under a tarp at a soccer tournament .
I have worked nights as a nurse for 20++ years. I don't have a SO or kids to have to worry about. In the summer(especially this year with upper 90 temps and high humidity most of the summer) I went to the barn right after work. I would ride, do any barn chores, run errands on the way home. I usually got home around 11am. Then since I had stayed up, I would take a couple of Tylenol pms to insure sleep and sleep until about 8pm, get up fix dinner for work, throw in a load of laundry, watch a little TV and then get ready for work. In the winter, I tend to reverse my barn visits to the after noon. I head home from work, may run an errand like getting gas or a couple of items from grocery store, feed dog, and hit the sack. Up about 2:30ish head to barn, ride, then home. May run a small errand on the way home. Fix dinner, maybe throw in a load of laundry and then shower and back to bed for a couple of hours. I like the fact that if absolutley neccessary, I can arrange vet appointments or doctor appointments without having to do it on my days off. I am lucky in that I have a set schedule -Sunday night thru Thursday night with every Friday and Saturday nights off. Tips to help with sleep, darkened blinds, ear plugs, white noise. Sometimes in the summer, I resort to an eye mask as the sun shines just at the right angle to foil my dark blinds and it is particularly bright in my bedroom.
It's reading things like this from other "night" people that confirm that I really am a freak, even amongst the night-workers. I don't need darkening blinds or white noise or Ambien or anything to sleep--I just come home and go to bed. Never had any trouble with it. If I started needing things just so to get to sleep, that would be a sign for me that nights weren't working. Then again, I'm the sort that could sleep soundly living next to a MARC stop for two years
But I also think it's trying to have "normal people" hours on your days off that makes it hard. I don't do that. I stay nocturnal, which is easy, because it's just me. I may wake up a little earlier so I can beat traffic to/from the barn (like noon instead of 2PM), but otherwise, I'm still up at night, reading or sewing or watching movies. I've worked the same night shift for 5 years now, and it's so much easier that way. At my old job, I was on an actual swing shift when I first started (three 8 hour overnights, one mid-shift, one morning shift) and that was hell. As long as I stay on MY schedule, not a problem.
I have a rotating schedule, days and nights. It's about a 60/40 day/night split. I honestly hate the nights. I get through them and the money is great, but I am for the most part useless when I'm on them. I'm a bad day sleeper, nothing I've done helps. I can only sleep 6hrs tops during the day (usually 830-2ish if I'm lucky), therefore I'm literally exhausted after doing 3-4 nights in a row, and it takes me awhile to catch up. I also have a terrible time switching back to being a "daytime" person and require a few days off. I do think that if it were more consistent (like I had a set schedule and worked 4-5 nights/week), it'd be easier to adjust to, but the flip flopping sucks. Oh well, get it out of the way while I'm young!
I worked nights for 3 years right out of college. (1 - 9:30 AM) and would go to the barn right after work. (Or do whatever else - errands, etc) I slept from about 3-11 PM. On the weekends, I reverted to a semi-normal person schedule - I would come home on Friday and take a nap for a few hours, then do things in the afternoon/evening and go through the weekend like normal - on Sunday I would have a short day as I had to go to bed by 4 or 5 so I could get up to work Monday.
I've worked nights for about 10 yrs now minus 1 year I did my attempt at day shift.. (Hated days) Love night shift. I usually ride the morning after my last day at work (I work 12 hr shifts and live 1hr away from work and barn so my work days are work sleep work) I have plenty of time off to do any appointments, ride etc, (only work 3-4 days a week) and don't find I need anymore sleep than when I work days (unless I choose to flip and stay up for 26 hrs or so on my first day off) then I need a bit more sleep to recover.
All in all night shift has worked much better for me and my family but it most certainly isn't for everyone. Try out some night shifts first to see if you can tolerate it if you can. Good luck!
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I've worked what we call Tour 1, Tour 2 and currently have Tour 3. They are 8 hour windows starting at 8PM for Tour 1, 4AM for Tour 2 and 2PM for Tour 3. When I started I worked 10PM till 6:30AM, then adding the OT it turned into 8:30AM, then that changed and I started at 8PM, and finally I got days, 5AM to 1:30 PM, and had to change to 7AM to 3:30 PM when the DD was born and I had to come up with a schedule that would let me use a daycare. I had TH F off and rode in lessons then. I tried to ride after work and I was so bushed/tired/sore that I wasn't really able to derive the full benefit.
When I moved here to KY I got put on Tour 3 point 1, which was the joke for 6 12's starting at 5 PM or 1700 hours. (If you do shift work you may wind up using a lot of military time as it simplifies things) I didn't even try to ride for the first few months. All I did was sleep and work. I was able to count on Sundays off after a while and found a barn with a 10AM Monday lesson, so I would sleep Sunday night and get up at 8 and go to the lesson, usually I was refreshed from having Sunday off but there were a few times when I slept Monday until it was time to report for duty again. Once I got two days off and not so much OT I did two lessons, tried Saturday mornings, tried my other day off (splits, yuck) and settled on the other 10AM on Wednesdays. Then I moved, and now lesson just before I go to work, at 2PM, which I like as I am usually feeling energetic before work, but it sort of cuts into any socializing time as I have to get out of there before the factory down the road lets out or I will be trapped in their traffic.
The first thing is you must have is cooperation from the rest of the household. The worst fights I've ever had have been over my DH not letting me sleep/not understanding why I am tired etc. I still have to unwind, in fact I am doing it right now. I waste a HUGE amount of time in the dead of night, really not doing anything because of the noise issues for the rest of the family, dark outside, etc.. I do a lot of grocery shopping at 1AM, in fact I did my Thanksgiving shopping and had the whole store to myself - it was great! But nothing else is open except bars.
So theoretically I could come home and go straight to bed and get up at 9:15AM, but think about whether you'd be able to get off work, get home and go straight to bed and sleep, or not. (ETA and this whole paragraph belongs down one, with sleep hygiene, but this does sort of show you what happens to my brain - I get ditsy and say/do things backwards)
The second thing you have to do is practice good sleep hygiene. When I was on Tour 1 there was always something to do in the summer and I'd go and do it, promising myself I'd nap, well, that was twenty years ago and I just can't do that any more. As I tire nowadays, I begin to lose my mental edge, I become forgetful, I can't find the right words to express myself and I can't spell. (so I leave myself misspelled notes to remind myself to do things once I get up). I also need more than eight hours of sleep, something like nine, but that counts getting ready for bed, which always takes a little longer.
The third thing you have to do is really watch what you eat. I do the work of two and eat for three and it is really catching up with me. I have a very physical job and the vending machines at work are filled with quick boost high calorie, high simple sugar, high caffeine junk. The only thing we don't have is that Four Loko stuff and I'm sure we would if it weren't that we aren't supposed to use alchohol on the job. If I have a meal plan set up and stick to it, I really tend to feel better and haven't got the weight gain and tiredness issues that are not good for horseback riders.
And you will most likely kiss off any social life you have. It is excruciatingly difficult to connect with people who get up at 7 and go to work. In order to see most of my DD's school events I've had to change my schedule or take a day of vacation. My workplace is a production line atmosphere and cell phone use is frowned upon, that and people just don't like to be called at home when I am at lunch, at 10PM. Texts are good for communication, but neither my trainer nor I are really any good at doing them.
If I boarded I'd probably just go to the barn every other day before work - it'd work out pretty good. Having them at home means too many other things going on - which I have read here is one of the things that happens anytime you have your horses at home.
Last edited by ReSomething; Dec. 4, 2010 at 03:18 AM.
Reason: embarassing but truthful addition