Even if you are a night owl who loves to sleep during the day and stay up late into the night, you may sometimes find it difficult to stay awake as the night drags on while working the graveyard shift. Night shifts often come with perks such as higher pay, a more laid-back pace and less traffic. However, these benefits often come at a price. You sacrifice normal body rhythms and sleep patterns to get those fringe benefits. You can overcome the fatigue and stay awake on the night shift with a few simple strategies.
Take care of your body. Fuel your body with proper nutrition and plenty of water. Get enough sleep before your shift. Take some time to relax after work instead of going straight to sleep. You'll experience better rest and more energy.
Exercise regularly. Keep your body in shape with a physical activity you enjoy, such as walking, aerobics or team sports. Your quality of sleep and alertness on the job improve when your body remains active.
Dim the lights in your home as much as possible. This aids better sleep during the day and eases your transition into working hours after dark.
Drink coffee. A small dose of caffeine can increase your level of alertness without a huge crash. A study conducted by Dr. James Wyatt, a professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, demonstrated that small amounts of caffeine taken at regular intervals keep people awake and alert. The amount of caffeine in a quarter cup of coffee every hour provided a boost in performance to subjects during the study.
Sprint down the hallway. If you catch yourself falling asleep and all else fails, find a straightaway and sprint as fast as you can. In a short distance and in only a few seconds, your heart will begin to race and you will be wide awake.