Pros and Cons of Night Shift vs Day Shift. Who Wins?

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The competition between night shift versus day shift is rife! Blaming the previous shift for not doing a good enough job is as common as shift workers drinking coffee.

What are the pros and cons of night shift v.s day shift? The day shift is the body clock-friendly shift, where there is always help available and there is a better chance of showing off your skills to management. Whereas, night shift typically brings financial reward, is great for the night owls and you’ll never get stuck in traffic again.

As an emergency nurse working a rotating roster, I have seen and have come to appreciate the pros and cons of how every shift works. Let’s have some fun and explore both shift working schedules to see which one best suits you and your family.

Day Shift

Sleep Easy

There is no worrying about the neighbor’s dog or a relentless lawnmower as there is pretty much-guaranteed silence sleeping at night (unless you have a newborn baby or training a puppy).

Take a look here if you are tossing up the idea of owning a dog as a shift worker.

We humans are programmed to work the day shift schedule.

It’s what our body clock and sleep hormones prefer in order to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. There is nothing for your body to ‘get used to’ in comparison to a night shift worker.

We cover how the night shift schedule is disrupting our body clocks in this post Help! Should I Stick to a Night Shift Schedule on Days Off? and discover what we can do about it.

The only other thing potentially disrupting your sleep is your partner/spouse’s snoring!

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Day Shift Is Better for Your Health

Night shift totally and utterly confuses your body clock, putting you at a higher risk for some pretty dire health conditions. Yes, all shift workers are at risk of Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), but working night shift is a little worse because of the higher chance of sleep deprivation.

If you are having trouble sleeping even on the day shift, these posts may help:

More Access to Support Staff During the Day

In most shift work environments, there are more people around during the day. From management, specialist, cleaners and admin staff.

This is amazing for those working the day shift because your questions can be answered quickly and there is always help around when you need it. 

The Cafeteria is Open For Business

Did you forget to bring your lunch again? No problem! The cafeteria is open my friend with all the options you could ever want.

There is no more wasting time standing in front of the vending machine choosing something you don’t actually like, though you are left with little choice.

If you are on a budget or simply want to save some money for your next vacation, here are a couple of meal and snack suggestions to fill your lunch box and your belly.

Less Chance of Missing Anything Important

Change of policy, alterations in routine or an update in the system… You’ll never miss a beat when you work the day shift.

Regular staff meetings or ‘spur of the moment’ announcements almost exclusively happen during the 1st shift, so you never have to cut your sleep short to attend a meeting or miss it altogether, should you be working nights.

Day Shift Works Better With Your 9 – 5 Buddies

Enjoy dinner dates in normal, non-work clothes, where you can have a drink and not run off to work just as the party is getting started.

Working the day shift allows a ton of flexibility to see your friends and family after work which could mean a nice dinner or picnic in the park. Yes, breakfast dates are out, but there are so many other great options and happy hour food and drink specials to get stuck into!

You Don’t Feel Like a Zombie on Your Days Off

You may be tired, but it’s nothing in comparison to how you feel when working the graveyard shift and trying to get back on a normal 9-5 schedule. 

When working day shift you can enjoy doing the hobbies and activities you love, with your sleeping pattern not having been impacted. However, a night worker typically wants to enjoy those hobbies and activities at the same time as a day worker, thus eating into their typical sleeping hours. It can leave you feeling lethargic and tired the entire time.

If you are feeling exhausted, there is also a better chance of having recuperative sleep during the night in comparison to trying to sleep during the day.

If you do often transition from nights to days, you’ll enjoy reading How To Quickly Switch From Night Shift To Day Shift.

Stretch | Pros and Cons of Night Shift vs Day Shift. Who Wins?

More Exposure to Management to Show off Your Skills

Some suggest there is more opportunity to grow and promote yourself on day shift because management can see you and quickly receive feedback on your performance.

I don’t wholeheartedly agree with this because if you do a good job even overnight, management will hear about it or notice for themselves when they arrive to work in the morning.

But for some day shift workers, this may be important.

Night Shift

So, is it Monday today? No Emma, it’s Friday already! 4 days have passed? What, is this just me?

Some shift workers love nights and choose to work the graveyard shift schedule over the day shift. Call them crazy, but here are some of the reasons why…


As I once heard a night shift nurse say, “why work days, when I can perform the same role at night and earn more money?” I don’t totally agree with this, as I’ve worked some of my hardest shifts while on nights, but you get the idea.

Do the same (or similar) job for higher pay and potentially get an extra boost when working nights on the weekend and public holidays.

I also enjoy working the night shift to save money, particularly when working 3rd shift over the weekends. If I’m working, I can’t go out till the early hours buying overpriced cocktails and expensive taxi’s home.

Tip for beginners: Make sure your payslip reflects the correct pay scale and any bonuses have been added.

Money | 13 Advantages of Shift Work for Employees | The Other Shift

Witness Some of the Spookiest and Funniest Events Which Only Happen at Night

“Did you just hear that?”
“Did that seriously just happen?”

Night shift brings out an unusual, often confronting and sometimes annoying, side to people. Yes, I’m talking about both the public and the staff. These are the special moments that staff on the day shift miss out on experiencing.

Who’s got the best stories at a party? Probably a night shift worker, but I’d to keen to hear otherwise…

Sleep In

You can forget about the 5 am wake up calls, thanks. The hours of the 3rd shift suit night owls perfectly!

Hate waking up early and love going to bed late? This is the shift for you.

Talking about sleep, give yourself the best opportunity to sleep by spoiling yourself with soft sheets and a mattress you tell your friends about. Try the Nolah Mattress RISK-FREE for 120 nights in your own home

Easier to Manage Family Life With Small Kids in Some Situations

Some find juggling school pick-ups and drop-offs, plus attending events with kids much easier when working the night shift.

I have seen night shift work brilliantly when parents are juggling kids and other duties as there is still time to share a meal with your family, enjoy time with your kids and attended to the duties of the house.

If you currently work days and are finding managing your job and a family difficult, it might be worth looking into working the night shift. It could be the missing piece to your puzzle.

[VIDEO] – Keep your relationships alive by watching the video below

Escape the Traffic

Who wants to sit it the car or stand on a stuffy bus or train for the entire commute to or from work? Not me!

You’ll laugh at all the suckers on the other side of the highway sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic when cruising home in the fast lane!

Parking Limits Don’t Exist

If you want to park your car in the no-standing zone between 8 pm – 6 am, go for it. None of this catching the work shuttle bus or having to take the train to work.

You might be able to park in the work parking lot for free when working overnight. Suss this out during your next shift and save yourself the extra walk or cash.

Less People = Less Drama

There are fewer people around for drama to be created. There are no admin staff, management and family around to create a fuss. Night shift roles typically have a much smaller staff volume.

This gives you time to think, complete your work quicker and more efficiently because you are not stopped by 100’s of interruptions.

What bliss! You can finally just do your work in peace without the riff-raff.

The Teamwork is Unbelievable

This is not to say the day shift team is horrid, but on night shift there are less people around to ask for help.

There are fewer specialists to ‘run something by’ and seek clarification when you have a simple (or complex) question. This means you and potentially your small team needs to work together in order for jobs to get done.

You’re also forced to think on your feet a lot more at night due to these extra hands and specialist opinions not being readily available. Which personally, gives me a great sense of autonomy while working night shift.

As a charge nurse working nights I often feel like a nurse, an MA/orderly, a phlebotomist, a ward clerk, therapist, bed manager, crisis manager and a mom all rolled into one.

During a night shift, your workload can appear different and potentially more exciting too. Suddenly you’re answering the office phone, faxing documents and writing emails. Along with being the cleaner, security and also the manager making decisions.

Code brown? I got your back.

Summary: Pros and Cons of Night Shift vs Day Shift. Who Wins?

Whether you’re a night owl working the graveyard shift or a day shift worker battling the crowds, there are obvious pros and cons to both.

Our tip, should you have the flexibility to select your shift, pick what works best for your current situation. The debate on which shift is busier or better is going to live on for centuries, so save yourself some stress, thank the shift before for all their hard work and move on.

P.s I dare you to switch it up over the course of a few weeks and give us your feedback on what you experience (a small shout out to rotational shift workers who are doing both already).

Thanks for reading the pros and cons to day shift vs. night shift. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

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Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

3 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Night Shift vs Day Shift. Who Wins?

  1. I worked rotating shifts off and on over a 23 year period. When my son was young I got to spend a lot of time with him on my days off. I worked a 12 hour rotation. I am now on straight days and feel so much better. I don’t recommend shift work to anyone who has a choice.

    1. Rick, you’ve definitely done your time as a shift worker! I’m glad it suited your situation in years gone by, as spending time with family at a young age is priceless.
      We’re glad you’ve found some happiness with your new daytime roster and thanks for sharing your views with the community!

    2. Thanks for your comment. I worked the night shift for over 26yrs because my kids was smaller, now grown with my last 15yr old I decided to switch to dayshift hours now I’m 46 I just feel like it’s better time with family and our health. I’ve had my share of nightshift tired sluggish and juggling things in the daytime hardly no sleep the average about 6 broken up not good for the brain. My body will have to adjust to dayshift because right now I have sleep disturbance waking up several times in the night. I will be working 6a-2p thanks for your input, I hope my body will adjust so be I can get 8 to 9 hrs of sleep.

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