How to cope with working at night

There are 3.4 million people working through the night in the UK

Working unsociable hours can be a difficult task, so its important to ensure you are as prepared as possible. According to the Trade Union Commission (TUC), there are 3.4 million people working through the night in the UK.  

If you are one of those people, we have some tips help you feel as comfortable as possible during your shift. 

Have the right equipment – Visibility is worse at night, so try to keep the light bright in your work area. If you are working outside, for example in roadway maintenance, then having the correct PPE is of paramount importance. If you end up straying into darker areas, in order to be seen by others and for them to be aware of your presence it is key to wear a hi vis vest

A food planner – People working at night or on rotating shifts are more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems. Your options for purchasing food on a night shift is going to be limited, so try preparing a well-balanced meal that you can enjoy on your break. This will enable you to avoid unhealthy snacks and junk food. Stay hydrated and try not to rely too heavily on caffeinated beverages or those with a high sugar content.  

Plenty of rest – Long periods of time without proper sleep increases the chance of accidents and injuries at work. Try to get into a sleeping routine as quickly as possible and use blackout curtains to make your bedroom dark in the daytime. Noise can also be a significant barrier to a good rest, so make those you live with aware of your sleeping pattern and have some ear plugs handy just in case. You can also turn off your devices or set them to do not disturb so you can are not unwittingly awoken. 

What to keep an eye on 

Working night shifts can adversely affect your lifestyle. The potential issues include: 

  • The development of health issues, such as depression 
  • Fatigue and Stress 
  • A poor work-life balance 
  • A lack of motivation/reduced productivity 

Know your rights 

The night period lasts from 11pm until 6am and if you regularly work at least three hours during that time frame you will be classed as a night worker. Night workers must not work more than an average of eight hours in a 24-hour period, and it is not possible to opt out of this limit. A risk assessment must be carried out to identify hazards and the mental or physical strain of certain aspects of your work. 

If you are under the age of 18 you cannot work between midnight and 4am, unless there is no adult available, there has been a sudden increase in demand, or to maintain the continuity of a service. 

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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