Snooze or Seize? Your Guide to Night Shift Days Off

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Culminated from an exhaustive yet well-funded journey into the night, this article will prepare you for life outside of work while being a denizen of the dark. 

During days off, night shift workers can either seize the day or stay in bed and sleep. When motivated, cleaning, exercise, cooking, socializing or taking a class are all good options. If feeling apathetic, simply relaxing whilst enjoying an alcoholic beverage or listening to a podcast are also reasonable ways to pass the time.

On our website, you’ll find this article explaining how and when to sleep on days off when working the night shift. If you’re looking for that kind of advice, we recommend you start there. In the post, we show you just what exists out there for you when it’s your night to howl or clap silently to yourself, in case you live with “day walkers.” Some are healthy, good-for-you suggestions whilst others are realistic choices loved and used by many!

1. Night Shift Workers are Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time!

Well, liver be damned, I suppose, let’s get you on the boat to happy town. A very common way to unwind has always been alcohol. Now, depending on where you live, this might be a problem. Most states have laws regarding what time an establishment may sell or serve alcohol. If you’re in an area known for the nightlife, like New York or Las Vegas, this certainly won’t apply to you. Lucky duck, you…

If you do decide to tie one on, plan ahead. Have your alcohol purchased ahead of time and you can avoid explaining to some very unpersuaded law enforcement personnel just why you’re breaking into the liquor store after hours. Chances are they won’t be receptive to your altered life schedule. 

Also, depending on your location, you may just hit the jackpot (both literally and figuratively.) Casinos tend not to judge the vampiric clientele. In point of fact, they cater to people who disregard the time (there’s a reason there are no windows or clocks in most casinos…) As long as you recognize that you will most likely lose money, you can just tell yourself you are spending that money on a fun night out with comped drinks, rather than trying to alter your fates with a hand of blackjack. So, if you’re going to sin, might as well double down, right? Alcohol and gambling go together like liver disease and bankruptcy. 

2. Sweat, Walk and/or Cook

There is nothing wrong with spending your downtime by lifting something up, like say, unreasonably large hunks of metal. Yes, many gymnasiums and health clubs offer 24-hour memberships. In fact, it is not uncommon to see fitness centers downright busy at 03:00 on an idle Tuesday. While this seems unnatural and disconcerting at first, it’s actually completely fine. You may, in fact, develop an entire social life around your newly acquired fitness routine. While not nearly as fun as gambling the night away surrounded by showgirls and booze (I get to this later), I assure you, your longevity and bank account will thank you. 

Nature walks or hikes may sound odd in the night (or at least, the sole domain of criminals and monsters,) but there is a calm that exists only at night. Now, this again depends on where you live, but a night walk can be both safe and relaxing (unless you live in a high crime area or anywhere with nocturnal predators. Maybe don’t go jogging with the wolves and mountain lions. That’s not a jog, that’s running for your life.)

Whilst you’re walking, try Snibbs. They are a sneaker company I recently found and they are so great. Honestly. I wrote a whole review about them here. They are water-resistant, comfortable and don’t cause blisters or sore spots even right from the start.

Speaking of health, you can help yourself in another aspect of nightshift life. You may have noticed that not a lot of healthy food restaurants are around when the sun goes down. Usually, your options are fried grease, fried grease with cheese, and fried grease with cheese and topped with fried grease. Well, why not do yourself a favor and do some meal preparation for the week ahead? Making health-conscious meals ahead of time can save your money while improving your quality of life. Go ahead and pack up some fresh vegetables and hummus and let your cardiologist pay off his own student debt for a change.

Here is a great meal preparation article for you. If you can’t be bothered with any of that, this green juice powder is exactly what you need to drink every day to feel better.

3. Go Outside and Feel the Warm Sun (Even Late in the Afternoon)

Once you get out of the dimly lit bar or open the blinds after a long nap, go outside. Pull up the sleeves and get a bit of sun exposure on your skin. Though we may think we roam around like vampires in the dark, we actually need the sun’s rays to keep things happily ticking along preventing us from getting sick.

You don’t need to smoother yourself in sunscreen either, just check out the UV index via your favorite Sunsmart app to see what’s recommended depending on the time of day you plan on getting out. In Australia for example, I use the Sun Smart app to tell me exactly what to do. (We have a bunch of other apps we recommend for shift workers too, you can click to download them here).

For night shift workers, getting the right amount of vitamin D helps us sleep and realigns our body clocks. Though you may want to stay in bed under the covers, do yourself a favor and get out. Need some inspiration? Read it here.

Sure, there will be times when you will venture out into the daylight, but this is a good thing. You are not a troll, living under a bridge to challenge travelers with riddles and the like, you’re still human. Just one that eyes the blue sky suspiciously…

4. Take a Class or Get Creative

You might be thinking about night school to improve your skillset, but you’re hesitating because night school people are creepy…

While I do not recommend casting aspersions upon your fellow man or woman, I understand. The fellow taking gunsmithing classes at the local annex at midnight while wearing black eyeliner kinda worries us all. Put aside your cravenly disposition and embrace online education!

Online classes exist for all comers, from the creative to the more business orientated. You can learn from the comfort of your own home on all topics, ranging from computer programming to creative writing to learning a new language. From actual accredited universities and trade schools to informal instructional services, all are available 24 hours a day. 

Improving your skills and education is a great way to accelerate your career or just make your life more enriched. Many of these services are free of charge, while others may be covered by your employer if it improves your ability to do your job. One thing is for certain: time spent learning is seldom in vain. 

5. Switch On Technology

While it used to be true that your main choices for television viewing after midnight used to be infomercials or televangelists, technology has changed, my friend. Now, if you still want to learn about curing baldness with spray paint while praising the lord, have at it, if not though, you have options…

Streaming services have rapidly become an entertainment hub in their own right. Usually based on a subscription model, they offer content ranging from movies, network television shows on demand, and even original programming. Sporting events from around the world can be viewed also, allowing you to keep up with your favorite teams, no matter the hour as well as finding new sports to enjoy. 

Far from setting a VCR or even DVR to record shows, streaming services have become serious contenders and are well worth checking out.

Podcasts also have emerged as a cultural phenomenon. For the uninitiated, a podcast is a recorded (though livestreams do occur) broadcast on any variety of topics. They range from politics to entertainment, from videogames to birdwatching. The only limit is the imagination. Usually free of charge, they can be paused and restarted at the listener’s convenience. Think of them as talk radio, but without the weird call-in shows about Bigfoot, flying saucers, or lizard people (life is hard enough without worrying about them…)

Podcasts are almost like a blog with a video element, the sheer number of hosts and guests will keep you entertained long into the morning. So, feel free to give a listen, you may just learn something (other than how to successfully trap the Loch Ness Monster.)

We’ve featured in this one which is about alcohol and working night shift, take a listen!

You could even start a blog or your own Youtube channel? You never know who might be interested to hear about the wild, curious world of the mysterious night shift worker. Here is our Youtube channel (and an example of one of one of our viedos below) to get the creative juices flowing.

6. Embrace Your Green Thumb

If you miss the natural world, but still fear the things that go bump in the night, cower under your covers no more. Why not take up gardening? 

No, I’m not suggesting you go digging around the yard in the moonlight, that’s an excellent way to meet a police officer who’s wondering just what, or who, you are burying. No, I’m thinking of indoor growing. 

What used to be the domain of drug dealers, grow tents allow you to cultivate and grow any manner of plants without sunlight. You can grow all manner of fruit, vegetable, herb, or flower in the comfort of your own home. While obviously not as large as a traditional yard or farm, you can begin your earthly buddy’s life inside, and transplant it outdoors after they pass the vulnerable early growing stages. Food-producing gardens may be created in your living room if desired, giving you hours of relaxation and accomplishment while providing fresh herbs and produce for cooking or alternative medicine. 

Add a few frogs or lizards and you can laugh maniacally as you create an entire ecosystem, over which you may rule. All subject to your whims and wrath (or maybe just, you know, keep it nice and non-psychotic.)

7. Research Ways to Save Time (and Potentially Money)

As you’ve likely worked out, the day walkers as I like to call them, don’t give a hoot about us and what we need – though they do crave our services and the good work we do! But that rant is from another day. What I mean is the shops and retail stores are often closed overnight when we need them.

So, I want you to think about the services you use regularly such as bank, the grocery store and pharmacy and consider whether you can automate anything to save a trip of two? Can you get your goods delivered to your home to save you the trip? Think about;

  • Late-night grocery delivery
  • Specialty fruit and veg box delivery
  • 24-hour dry cleaning services
  • Online banking
  • Delivery pharmacy services or late night pick-up points
  • On-the-spot car servicing which comes to your home
  • Telehealth appointments to talk to a doctor

8. Deep Clean

When was the last time you cleaned the filter of your dishwasher, removed the lint from the dryer or cleaned out the crumbs from your toaster? Take this as a reminder to do an hour or two of cleaning your home.

As night shift workers we have an amazing ability to not see the mess until we absolutly need to, but it’s time my friends to open the windows and put on the rubber gloves. Maintaining a clean house will do incredible things for your relationships too. Em always says to me, there is nothing sexier than you using the mop without me having to ask!

If you need some more relationship tips that have worked for us, this video will help!

So, My Life Isn’t Just Work and Weeping Uncontrollably From Boredom?

So, whether you spend your day off on a laptop computer, learning a new language to the soft dulcet tones of a laundry machine, or you are lifting the equivalent weight of a piano while listening to death metal music, the choices are plentiful. Your free time can be both enjoyable and productive.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I live in one of those areas with a casino and no last call, and I’ve got an unearthly desire to hand my money over to a group of people I’m relatively sure are part of an Eastern European crime syndicate.

Just hope the bears don’t get me on the way there.

Or the lizard people…

If after reading this you’re not sure whether it’s time to hang up the night shift boots, this post will help you make the right decision.



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.

Daniel Smith

Managing a global sales team I've experienced the challenges of working at all hours of the day and night. Being a shift worker I know how tough it can be balancing everyday life when you feel like you haven't slept in weeks! Providing advice and tips on how to manage your schedule, whilst still staying healthy is where I can help.

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