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5 Tips for Security Professionals Adjusting to the Night Shift

Are you a security professional considering a transition from working the day shift to the night shift? If so, it can be a mentally and physically stressful change that will significantly alter your current routine. With the following tips, you can mitigate the stress of night shift work and prepare yourself to avoid the potential drawbacks of working the night shift, such as a drop in your work performance.

How to Work the Night Shift

Productive and successful security professionals working the night shift must focus on taking care of their own physical and mental health. Here are seven tips to help you keep your well-being a priority.

Map Out Your Work Schedule Ahead of Time

When changing a work routine, it’s essential for security professionals to map out their schedules ahead of time. Those who work for an organization should ask their manager or Human Resources department to receive their weekly schedule one month in advance or at the very least one week in advance.

Knowing your schedule ahead of time will allow you to plan your life outside of work with ease. You’ll remember that making big social plans on the weekend before switching shifts may leave you overly tired. It will also help you when buying groceries, making doctors’ appointments, and agreeing to other engagements. The transition may give you an extra day off, which is perfect for catching up on sleep, errands, and socializing.

Plan Your Sleep Schedule

The time you choose to sleep after a night shift is a matter of personal preference. You may want to go straight home and to bed. You may want to eat a snack and take a relaxing shower or bath first. If you have difficulty going straight to bed, that’s okay, too.

Treat the first hour being home after work as you would after having worked in the daytime by winding down. Don’t forget to set the alarm just as you would if you needed to get up for a day shift. This will help you feel less tired and more productive than sleeping the entire day away.

Adjust Your Sleeping Environment

Security guards working the night shift must adapt to sleeping during the day despite their bodies and minds seeing daylight as a time to be active. You can help your mind adjust by setting the right environment.

  • Use your bed for sleeping only
  • Make your bedroom a quiet space
  • Use blackout curtains to block sunlight
  • Allow fresh air to circulate

It’s especially important to discuss your new routine with family members who may be preparing to start a day shift by explaining the need for them to stay respectfully quiet in the morning.

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

It may be tempting to load up on that energizing coffee to help you stay awake at night, but you should remember that stimulants like caffeine only provide quick bursts of energy, not sustained energy. When that burst wears off, you can spiral into an endless cycle of either reaching for more caffeine or crashing. It’s okay to have some caffeine, but you shouldn’t drink more than you would during a typical day if you want a comfortable sleep after your shift.

Eat Well-Balanced Meals Regularly

Another common habit with night shift work is in sporadic and overindulgent eating schedules that include fast food and unhealthy snacks. Foods that are high in fat can make you feel sluggish. They also don’t provide your body with proper nutrition and can lead to weight gain.

Eat your most substantial meal when you first wake up in the evening, which is the equivalent of breakfast for you. Use your meal break at work to eat a sustaining and nutritious lunch. Your third meal should be light and avoid starch and sugar that can keep you awake. Given the odd hours, it can help to prep meals ahead of time to avoid ordering out.

Take Private Investigator Courses Online

Although adjusting to the night shift can be a challenge, your new schedule can leave you with valuable free time in which you may wish to sharpen your skills as a security professional.

If you wish to strengthen your skillset, consider taking continuing education courses online with the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA). With state-and board-approved pre-licensing courses, you can get on your way to a new and exciting way to work. Call NITA at 866-235-7918 or contact us to learn more.

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