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How to survive early morning work shifts.

Updated on July 16, 2011

Getting work nowadays is getting harder and harder. Hard enough to maybe...wake up at 3am to go to a less than appealing job just because you need the money. While I know personally that 3am work shifts can make you want to cry and hide under your bed shouting "Leave me alone!" there are some ways to make it more bareable.

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Number one:

The most important part of working early morning is actually getting up. Especially if you're like me and have trouble going to sleep early. My advice is to set your alarm for an hour before you have to leave the house. My shift is at 3am, so i set my alarm for 2am. This gives you a chance to fully wake yourself up before you have to leave, and also gives you a chance to do some things you may enjoy before work.

Number two:

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you absolutely must go to bed early the day before. As someone who's used to going to bed around 11pm it's very hard for me to sleep early. Especially in these summer months when the sun is out until 9:30. Take sleep aids or drink calming tea before bed to help you fall asleep. You'll be glad for it when you wake up refreshed.

Number three:

Do all of your preparation tasks the night before. Though the adrenaline may help wake you up for a bit the excitement will take it's toll later on. So, pack your lunch and your bags and things beforehand. Lay out your clothes. Maybe even shower the night before, though showering in the morning is a great way to wake up. Set the timer on the coffee machine to brew an hour before you wake up so you have fresh coffee in the morning to help pep you up.

Number four:

If your job is like mine (physically demanding, unloading boxes from trucks, stocking shelves) it's even more important that you're awake. Even better than coffee for this task? Apples. The natural sugars in apples are a wonderful natural way to perk you up without the caffeine crash later (or the increased need to use the bathroom). Before you leave the house for jobs like these it would never hurt to stretch. This goes for any job, day or night, where there is a lot of physical labor. A pulled or strained muscle is never a good thing.

Number five:

Try to stay positive! Trust me, I KNOW how hard that is sometimes. But look on the bright side! depending on the shift if you work 8 hours 3am to 11am then you get the rest of the day off to do what you want. Make friends with your co-workers if possible too, joking around while doing a job makes the time go by much faster than if you're working in a tense silence. It's understandable if don't, making friends can be hard for some people, but even just small talk makes the work go by faster.

Number six:

If this job is a 5 times a week shift at the same time everyday you will get used to it fairly easily. But if your job is like mine and you only have this shift once maybe twice a week your sleeping schedule will be wrecked. You have to understand that it won't be the same anymore. So, as a tip, if your shift is only once or twice a week, no matter how much you really want one, try not to to take a nap when you get home from work. It will only confuse your sleep habits even more than they already will be.

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      Thanks! 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for your advice! I have a 3am shift to 8ish am and it's proven difficult:P it's pretty physically demanding too and these tips help! The only thing I don't like is feeling like I have an early bed time, and missing out on the evening!

    • profile image

      Joe 

      6 years ago

      Hi I also work at 5:00 am to noon I went to had lunch then went down for a nap. Wake up feeling foggy. Now I'm trying to stay up and go to bed at 9:00 do you think this is better? For me.

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