9 Myths About Night Shift Jobs You Probably Still Believe

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What if I told you night shift jobs are all about catching up on the latest Netflix shows while sitting on your butt, with your feet up on the desk, eating popcorn? 

Well, if that’s all you’ve heard the graveyard shift is like without experiencing it yourself…how do you really know any different?

I bet you’d be pretty excited to get started! However, I’m sure you’ve also heard… 

Do you work a night shift job? If you haven't, what do you really think it's like working the graveyard shift? We explore 9 common myths about working the night shift to figure out if it's something that could suit you and your family | theothershift.com | #nightshift #graveyardshift #3rdshift #shiftworkhealthtips

Night shift is bad for your health…You’ll never sleep…Your social life will be ruined forever…

As a nurse, who’s worked a rotating roster, including a bucket load of nights, I know what it’s like. So too does my husband Dan, who worked permanent night shift in the sports recruiting industry with a desk job

We want to shed some light on the crazy myths commonly said about night shift jobs and point out what’s really true and what’s complete fluff.

Sometimes the positives outway the negatives and Dan does admit, he’s watched the odd NBA game whilst working nights – something he never had the luxury of doing working days. 

Working the night shift is not for everyone, but it can lead to some unbelievable balance within your family, support you financially and give you the kind of job satisfaction you’ve never experienced before. 

9 myths about night shift jobs you probably still believe

1. Working a Night Shift Job Will Ruin Family Life


Night shift work may actually suit some families and individuals, even better than a day shift job!

Picture this scenario (as I have seen time and time again in the Emergency Department):

Dad works a 9-5 job and mum is a nurse working rotating shifts (visa-versa), plus, they have three kids of varying ages.

Mum goes to work for a night shift around 8.30pm, after enjoying dinner with her family and dad puts the kids to bed (plus, prepares a slow-cooked meal for tomorrow because he’s uber-organized!).

In the morning, mum and dad tag team. Dad leaves for work while mum walks through the door after completing the graveyard shift.

She finishes getting the kids ready for school, drops them off and then comes home to sleep until it’s school pick up time.

Sounds busy but manageable, right?

Obviously, there are added complexities within every family such as pre-school aged kids, spending quality time with your husband and fitting in your extended family and friends.

But with a bit of organization and teamwork, you can see how this could work for you too?

We have a few posts about families in this position you might want to check out:

Kiss army _ theothershift.com

2. Working a Night Shift Job Makes You a Social Recluse


On the surface, it may appear that night shift stops you from attending social events which happen overnight. While that’s partly true, do all fun things only happen at night?

What about breakfast dates? What about mid-week lunch catch-ups (on your days off or last night) or even an early dinner before you start your shift to watch the sunset?

If we go back to basics for a second and ask, what are night shift jobs?… It can help sort this out.

It may seem obvious, but traditionally, night shift jobs are those, which start later at night and run until the early morning.

In my experience, graveyard shift hours generally range anywhere from 1900 (7 pm) – 2300 (11 pm) start time, finishing around 0600 (6 am) – 0900 (9 am).

Related: What Do the Terms 1st, 2nd and 3rd Shift Actually Mean?​

This leaves a lot of time for play.

I agree it takes a little extra work and organization to fit in with your 9-5 working friends, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Think about getting on the front foot and organizing something to suit your schedule when it comes to your social life.

Check out our post How to Work Night Shift, Be Healthy and Not Get Sick for some inspiration about boosting your social life while on night shift.

Don’t forget about other night shift workers in your workplace too… I’m sure they’d be up for a meal before your shifts starts.

Related post: 7 Essential Night Shift Tips: Making The Impossible A Reality

3. You Work Longer Hours on a Graveyard Shift Job Compared to the Day Shift

Correct, most night shift hours are longer than the traditional day shift of 8 hours as we discussed earlier, but do you know that means?

Fewer days at work! Or better, extra cash! 

If you work a 40-hour week that’s 8-hour shifts x5, right? But for us, if we work 10-12 hour shifts we are working significantly fewer days in the end, leaving more time to do the things you actually want to do.

So on the surface, the shifts may seem super lengthily but you’re the one winning in the end!

With the right healthy snacks and putting in place strategies to prevent you from getting sick while working a graveyard shift, those few extra hours become a total breeze.

Just one tip, if you’re thinking about applying for a night shift job, don’t forget to ask about the duration of each shift.

I typically work a 10-hour night shift but my husband Dan normally worked 12-13 hours each night. On the other end of the spectrum, the ambulance service, (shout out to these heroes!), complete shifts up to an exhausting 24 hours.

Always remember to ask about your expected working hours per week and have these written into your contract.

Particular employers will have varying start times to suit their clients and the nature of the work and you don’t want to be kept in the dark on these roster details.

If you’re anything like Dan, he is not a big one for those types of surprises. Remember – know exactly what you’re signing up for and don’t be intimidated to ask.

For the pregnant ladies, we chat about this a lot in a post titled, Shift Work While Pregnant: Survival Tips From 46 Busy Moms and it’s worth checking out if you’re in this boat.

4. Night Shift Is Dull and Boring

Soooo wrong….

I have made some incredible life long friends while working the night shift. There is more time to get to know each other, have a laugh and bond over events and stories only night shift workers understand…

The pace is (sometimes) slower depending on where you work, leaving time to get to know your co-workers.

As a nurse working the night shift allows me to communicate with patients and develop therapeutic relationships with them to a much deeper level than what I could during the day.

Why? There is simply no time in the Emergency Department during the day to truly get to know your patients and their families let alone your co-workers.

If you do find you’re working a more secluded job, try one of the following:

(Only once your work is completed that is… and you wondering how to stay busy overnight):

  • Complete continued professional development or course work/training required for your job. (Keep a record of this stuff too!)
  • Catch up on some personal reading or google things which are super interesting.
  • Listen to music or a podcast of interest. Make it related to your course and it could count towards your professional development (if it’s required as part of your employment).
  • Work on personal projects like a blog or side hustle business.
  • Calling a friend overseas in a different time zone is also a fun way to pass the time and still allows you to complete your jobs like re-stocking.

Read, Bored on Night Shift? How to Stay Busy Without the Internet for more inspiration.

Dusk sunset with purple Pinterest pin with text overlay

The quiet, skeleton staff structure of most night shift jobs, also allows for more autonomy.
You’re in the driver’s seat. Decisions that generally get made by senior management are left to you overnight.

Scared? That’s okay.

It can initially be a little daunting, but over time you’ll value what an incredible opportunity it is for you to think on your feet and be challenged in a way which is simply not possible on a day shift.

Personally, this is great for my job satisfaction and self-belief that I can do it.

Yawning _ night shift jobs

5. Night Shift Jobs Are Too Quiet

This is job dependent as my workplace is still usually pumping at 3am!

If you work as a security guard, in a health facility or hospital in a very quiet ward or something similar where there are not too many people around, you may experience a lot of downtime which can feel isolating.

On one hand, fewer people and noises = fewer distractions, allowing you to be super-efficient, finishing jobs in half the time.

But on the flip side, it can be distracting in itself because it’s just you and your own thoughts. I’ve done shifts like this and it can be a long night.

If you’re stuck wondering what to do on a night shift, here are our recommendations.

  • Check with your manager if you’re allowed to bring in personal devices and connect them to the WIFI service. You don’t want to be caught in the act watching funny cat videos – never goes down well.
  • Ask about bringing your dog into work (click to check out another post we wrote about owning a dog and being a shift worker). Seriously. Depending on your workplace this may be totally acceptable. Don’t be afraid to raise subject the subject with management… What’s the harm in asking?
  • Play music through a speaker at your station can also help lighten the mood. Avoid headphones as you can lose touch with your surroundings and miss phone calls, pages and email alerts… remember, you are at work

The Echo Dot bluetooth Speaker is hugely popular, sounds crystal clear and syncs amazingly with your devices.

I can’t be bothered stuffing around with speakers which simply take too long to sync. You won’t have this problem with the Echo Dot. See on Amazon

Finally, when you think there is not enough going on, just ask yourself, would you prefer to do your job without management constantly breathing down your neck, micro-managing you?

It’s possible on the night shift.

Night Shift Jobs _ theothershift.com _ Tractor with lights on at night

6. The Graveyard Shift Is for Lazy People Who Do ‘Nothing!’

How many times have you heard or even said this? I’m guessing, too many?

Night shift is, in fact often the glue that keeps everything in a business running smoothly and is often vital to its success…

Checking numbers, invoices, paperwork, orders, drug charts and equipment lists which get completed during the day, are generally checked by night staff in the nursing department.

This eliminates mistakes or tiny errors from blowing up into an unnecessary mess!

Cleaning, making plans, writing reports and filling out equipment orders is just the beginning to any night shift job. Yes, it is quieter and yes there are fewer people, but there is still so much to do.

There are lazy people in every organization and on every shift who will be found out eventually.

Laziness might be flagged more on the night shift because there are fewer people to point-the-finger at.

For those of you who have worked the night shift know it’s often labeled, the shift where “everybody hates you and good work goes un-noticed”.

We found that out on a funny T’shirt we talk about here – 5 Funny Shift Work T’Shirts You Need to be Wearing.

Police at night _ theothershift.com

7. All Night Shift Jobs Require Extensive Training


What about a…

  • Police officer?
  • Health aids?
  • Night shift factory workers?
  • Front-end clerks?
  • Call centers workes?
  • Driving and delivery personnel?
  • Security guards?
  • Data entry workers?
  • Night shift cleaners?

These jobs do require on-the-job training but you don’t need a college degree to get employed.

Even a graveyard position as a private investigator pays very well and doesn’t necessarily require a college degree!

The high-paying night shift jobs like an air traffic controller, nurses, doctors and firefighters do require extensive training over many years but don’t think these are your only options.

However, the night shift jobs I mentioned earlier can also give you financial security and commonly have almost immediate start dates.

cleaner | Graveyard shift jobs | theothershift.com

8. Night Shift Jobs Are Terrible for Your Health

Night shift gets a pretty bad rap in the media.

Researches often suggest we are shortening our life expectancy and risking our health by working against our body clock.

Yeah, we are supposed to sleep during the night and be awake during the day. But we’re also not supposed to drink alcohol, eat junk food or drink excessive amounts of coffee…but we do.

I’m not saying night shift is good for us or lessening the importance of the effects of night shift. But is it the worst we can do?

If we get the recommended amount of sleep, eat a healthy well-balanced diet and maintain daily exercise, as we should be doing on day shift, we can avoid potential issues from occurring like Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) .

We have written a bunch of posts to improve your health as a night shift worker which we encourage you to check out. Pretty much everything we have written about here are things we wish of known sooner to make the whole night shift routine easier. We hope you enjoy them.

On a side note, Dan and I also drink Organifi Green Juice which is packed with superfoods, keeping from us getting run-down.

But it also has helped abolish our night shift problems!

Open 24 hours _ Night Shift Jobs _ theothershift.com

9. If You Work a Graveyard Shift Job You Will Get Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)


As we explained above, it’s true the odds are not in our favor as we continually work against our fine-tuned body clocks as we discuss here.

But not all shift workers, inclusive of those night shift workers, will get diagnosed with Shift Work Sleep Disorder.

According to the National Sleep Foundation,Approximately 10% of night and rotating shift workers are thought to have shift work disorder”.

For those newbies to this somewhat scary phrase, here’s a rundown.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, SWSD is a condition affecting people working outside the traditional 9-5 hours, who often don’t get enough good quality sleep.

SWSD sufferers also have significant issues with falling asleep and staying asleep despite how exhausted you may be.

To avoid this Sleep Disorder, we must start to treat sleep as a non-negotiable part of your day, prioritizing it over other things – even if you’re not tired!

Establish and stick to a sleep routine as we explain here and make sure you have some sleep aids (see post below) and a good eye mask. Also, designing your own roster (if possible) is vital to establishing a balance between work and life.

Check out this post about rostering tricks to suit you.

10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep | Night shift jobs

Uncovered Myth…You can make some money and probably won’t ever be out of work!

One of the biggest draw-cards for working the night shift is the financial reward.

Most employers pay night shift workers extra cash for working ‘non-sociable hours’.

This may be a higher rate of pay per hour or simply be a lump-sum added on top of your nightly pay.

Again, this is something to be discussed with your manager before you say yes to a new night shift job opportunity.

Secondly, the beauty about night shift jobs is that they will always exist.

We live in a 24-hour society where we not only demand but also expect to get the things we want, at any time of day.

Think about it.

Everything from putting gas in your car, to obtaining seamless medical care and checking into your hotel at 2 am… we want it now.

This may seem a little selfish and demanding on our part, but it’s great for the night owls seeking work who get their ‘second wind’ later in the evening.

Honestly, could you imagine not being able to see a doctor if you fell out of bed at 4 am, hitting your head so badly you needed surgery?

Crazy, unimaginable thought.

So, Why Work a Night Shift Job?

  • You’re NOT a morning person
  • You get your ‘second wind’ much later at night
  • You have trouble sleeping at night because it’s too quiet
  • You enjoy your own company, independence and quiet spaces
  • You hate stop-start traffic on the roads, busy grocery stores and lines of any kind just to get your jobs done

If this sounds like you, there is a night shift job waiting just around the corner!


Thanks for checking out this post about night shift job myths. Leave us a comment below about what you love (or don’t enjoy) about working the night shift.


Emma signature | theothershift.com

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.

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.

4 thoughts on “9 Myths About Night Shift Jobs You Probably Still Believe

  1. So glad I stumbled onto your blog! As someone who has worked various overnight jobs for twenty years, I can honestly say the most intense, challenging, exciting, or even FUN work experiences I have had have been with overnight jobs. Bored?? Oh no. Often, with less “public” in the way, the pace can be faster. What couldn’t get done during the day, for dealing with customers, often gets done overnight. For years, I was a hotel night auditor. Oh, the stories I could tell about the shenanigans people try when they think everyone is asleep. I loved it. And the kind of workers that can be drawn to overnight positions often have great personalities. On SOME overnight jobs, the rules just might be a little more relaxed. For several other reasons, IMO, if someone can adapt, it’s the best shift. Thanks for all this great advice- wish you had been there when I started!

    1. Cindy,
      Your feedback and insight gave us a big chuckle here! We can only imagine the funny memories you have as a hotel night auditor. We appreciate you sharing your experiences with our community and we agree with you wholeheartedly, shift workers make for the best personalities and interactions going around – we know what others in our position are going through!

  2. I believe that Office workers should be allowed to also do night shift. or even one of three shifts like we do in hospitals. If cities became 24hour places they would be more efficient, there would be less congestion on roads, many people would have a better work life balance. Companies would become more productive as there are operating longer than the 9-5 format, they could take up less office space as this would be used more efficiently and there would be no town time. I always find it easier to sleep during the day because I live in a dormitory suburb where people are at work during the time I need to sleep. And there is no better reward than a $2000 jump in my pay check when I work a month of nights.

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