Night Shift Care: 10 Ways to Help Your Loved One Thrive

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In some certain instances, your significant other absconding into the dark of night, is actually a good thing. You may even wish to make this easier on them. Why? No, you’re not a creepy masochist, you’re involved with a night shift worker.

So, if your husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, heck, even your kid in some instances (let’s hope the latter aren’t also the former, that’s an entirely different blog,) are denizens of the night, read on to see if you can make their lives a little brighter. See, because it’s a night shift blog. It’s very dark then. 

Breakfast for Dinner, But in Reverse

As basic as it may seem, sometimes a simple dinner with you is all they want at the end of the day. Yes, your stellar company (and possibly a ribeye,) can really make it all seem worthwhile.

While the early morning for you may only call for orange juice and maybe a bagel, your partner has worked all night. They have most likely subsisted on a menu of stale coffee, some sort of abomination from a grease-stained microwave oven, and probably a donut from the Mesozoic Era.

The prospect of actual food and your company will seem a delight (no matter how antisocial you are in the morning.)

So, while you’re grumbling away about the invention of the alarm clock (here are our favorite ones if you hate yours), hoping its creator is being accosted by the devil, go ahead and take that frustration out on a steak. 

Heck, throw one on for yourself. Live a little. Unlike the cow. 

In the below video, Em talk about the ways we maintained our relationship when both working shift work. Few goodies in there for sure.

Don’t Forget About You

Speaking of alarm clocks, you’re going to need two of these things. Now, I know the frustration of that aforementioned inventor collecting royalties for interrupting your sleep sounds a travesty, I assure you, Mr. Levi Hutchins has long since passed and will benefit no more from your suffering (yes. I looked up who invented the alarm clock solely for that line.)

The reason is simple: While you want to support your loved ones, you cannot live for them alone. You will need to maintain your own schedule and life. A large portion of support comes from eliminating any form of guilt they may feel for making you adjust to their way of life. While they may not seem a burden to you, they may feel that way themselves. The best way to avoid this stress on them is to avoid any symptoms.

Live your life and have your own goals. Let your partner see you support them without being inconvenienced. 

Believe it or not, avoiding guilt will go a long way toward helping them adjust to a life in the shadows. 

Unless they’re a superhero, then run, the Batman’s loved ones always get shot, blown up, eaten by a shark, or a meet with a variety of other terrible demise. 

This video we made on YouTube explores the idea of you, still being you, despite maintaining a relationship with a shift worker.

Whilst considering you, this post may be very relatable – Caregiver Burnout: Help for Those Helping Others

Turn the Lights Down Low. No, Seriously.

While blackout curtains and unscrewed light bulbs may be a bit much, know that sleeping in the daylight is an arduous task for all but the most alcohol-riddled college students. (No having a beer after a shift is not a great long-term solution, I know it sucks, we looked into it which you can read here)

Sleep to a night shift worker is a mixed bag. While an exhausted body needs rest, there is something unnatural about seeing the sun on your way to bed. 

Don’t believe me? Try it for a week and you’ll soon see how angry the sound of birds chirping can make you. You’ll say things to a warbler you wouldn’t say to a dock worker in the 1930s. 

Blinds, curtains, and some peace and quiet will pay dividends in the long one to make sure your better half doesn’t become a groaning zombie with the people skills of a hornet. Sleep is a magnificent personality enhancer. Remember though, there are two of you in this equation.

The point is this: You will both need to make adjustments for when the other is sleeping. On their days off, they’ll have to know when the moon is high, you’ll be low. Your sleep is important as well, maybe they can keep the lighting a bit low on those nights as well, or they’ll soon be as dead as that ribeye I mentioned earlier.

If you need some more ideas, this post titled No More Relationship Problems Because of Opposite Schedules has plenty more.

Whilst talking about lights, we have installed a few blue light-blocking, yellow globe, ones in our leading lights and in the bedroom. They are calming and we’ve found they help us fall to sleep quicker. Is it in our heads? Who knows but they’re working. Here is what they look as my photos didn’t do them justice. Click on each image to find out more.

The Sound of Silence Isn’t Just for Simon and Garfunkel

In addition to the above, silence and darkness are key to sleeping. If your house is a bustling hive of activity, it won’t matter if it’s as dark as a grave. Nobody will be resting.

This is easy if you live alone, it gets far more complicated if children are involved. Strong rules can help as can daycares or schools (when age permits.) If possible, converting the basement into a bedroom is ideal. 

If none of these help, earplugs, sound-canceling headphones, or even white noise machines work phenomenally well. As a person who lived on the road for far longer than is healthy, I can attest to the benefits of sensory deprivation on a midnight train. 

We list our 10 favorite sleep aids here if you fancy doing some shopping.

In terms of headphones, I want to point out something as I think noise is one of the biggest factors here. There are many different types worthy of your consideration. There are ones like this that are more the traditional headphone style suited for people sleeping sitting up.

Then there are two others that I’ve pictured which will be more appropriate when laying down. In-ear or hand band style. Both these products have impressive reviews on Amazon and are worth your while to have a look.

The Night Abhors Chores

If you are the primary resident during the daylight hours, there will be a sad truth you must come to terms with: You can’t mow the lawn at midnight (well, you can, but only for as long as it takes for the police to arrive.) 

All manner of chores, lawn care, housework, and domestic responsibilities can only be accomplished in the nine-to-five timeframe. Banking after dark is a felony and lawncare in the moonlight is unreliable at best. Grocery shopping can be done at night, with mixed, and scary results (picture a Walmart at midnight. Yeah.)

So, this means much will probably be expected of you. Sorry. I hope you don’t mind grass stains while at the bank. 

In all reality, nobody can reasonably expect you to do everything, just know that you will both have to come up with a realistic way to meet the domestic annoyances that plague us all. Knowing this ahead of time will help negate the unexpected grumblings you’ll hear yourself muttering while doing the dishes while simultaneously watering the lawn. 

Nobody wants macaroni on the Ficus plants.

Consider outsourcing where you can and don’t forget to give the kids some jobs to help you around the house.

One is the Loneliest Number. Other than Two.

At some point, you’re going to have to meet with other people. If your loved one is never seen by anyone else, while you are doing yardwork suspiciously alone, a detective with a court order and digging equipment isn’t far behind. So, get out there and have a social life. 

A midnight shift can make friends and social acquaintances easier to keep. Most social interactions occur in the afternoons or evenings, so your little night shift buddy will be just fine. Heck, they’ll be downright energetic, even at closing time. 

Just know that most of your interactions will be in the afternoons or nights. To be fair, that’s when most fun things happen.

Also, keep in mind that you are allowed to have a social life outside of your partner’s.

Nobody expects you to entomb yourself in the house while your partner sleeps (that behavior went out of style when the pharaohs of Egypt entombed their servants. Can’t imagine why it died out.)

Maintaining a healthy social life is difficult enough as an adult in the best of circumstances, but with a little effort, doing so with your adjusted lifestyle can be done. You just may need to do the initiation.

Are you struggling to balance your social life, How to Manage Shift Work and Your Social Life sound like the next best step for you.

Here is a nifty date idea too from Night in Boxes. A date delivered to your door is easy and fun. Click the image below to find out more.

Turn the Lights Down Low, Part 2

This may surprise you, but things other than sleep tend to happen in the dark in your house. Your romantic life needn’t be impacted by the unorthodox schedule your partner keeps.

As with your social life, the evening is a great time for old-fashioned date nights. Now granted, it’ll seem like morning to them, but you can’t be expected to make all the adjustments on your own. Besides, “Afternoon Delight” is more than just an unnerving song your parents played on the stereo. Chances are, your partner will be just as receptive to your advances in the night as your parents were in the morning (much to your horror if your house didn’t have locks. Or loud televisions.)

Healthy communication and clearly telling your expectations or wants is a foolproof way to ensure your romantic life does not suffer. Keep in mind, it will take time for you two to find your stride, but worry not, your ancestors survived wars, famines, locusts, timber wolf attacks, and probably whale assaults (I’m reading Moby Dick currently, sorry,) so your sleep schedule can be overcome. 

As with everything else, it’s all a matter of communication and adjustment.

Whilst we are being honest an all, have you addressed their snoring? If neither of you are bothered by the fog horn then read on, but if you are VitalSleep is your next stop. They are a unique, comfortable mouthpiece which will fit your mouth perfectly. For the sack of your relationship, it’s worth a shot.

snoring device vitalsleep

If a mouthguard is not your jam, Airsnore also offers drops to fix the problem. It can help eliminate relentless daytime tiredness, irritability and headaches. Get yourself some drops here.

The Pitter Patter of Little Horrors

I would never go so far as to say that children are horrors (but I know you will.) I will say, however, that they can certainly make adjusting to a night shift far more difficult than is normal. 

As mentioned above, if they are in school, then this step is largely avoidable. If not, well, there are things you can do to negate their effects. 

If your children are somewhat civilized, sometimes a simple discussion can go a long way to help them behave (tranquilizer guns remain illegal for this purpose.) Setting boundaries as to noise and interruptions can seriously make the process easier when done early. Family members and neighborhood babysitters can be used for this purpose as well, if you yourself work during the day.

If this fails, your partner will need to be available while you are at work. This will add to the stress, but it is not impossible. Your schedules will need to revolve around the children, but then again, all parents’ lives tend to do so anyway. 

Besides, as a parent, sleep will have waved “bye bye” to you long ago. 

Remember that you’re in this together and you’ll be okay. It won’t be easy, but if you play your cards right and keep the children first, you can expect that one day they’ll blame all their problems on you to a therapist at two hundred bucks an hour for all your troubles. 

I’m kidding. It’ll work out okay. The fact that you’re planning ahead shows you probably won’t be taken by surprise by anything they throw at you.

Besides, they’re small. You can take them. 

If in all seriousness you’ve got kids and trying to work out it, the following posts are for you;

Work to Live, not Live to Work

Never forget, the reason your loved one works this way is to earn money to pay for your life together. That life needs meaning. Be it hobbies, goals, renovations on a home, or any manner of things a person does in their downtime, they’re working towards those goals. 

So, while you are trying to focus on helping your loved one thrive in their career, never forget they want to do that thriving with you.

Find things you can do together that you both enjoy on those precious moments alone (other than the obvious, things in the dark I mentioned earlier.) It doesn’t matter if it’s big projects, designed to enhance your finances or homestead, or something as simple and goofy as a videogame night or movies, enjoy your time alone.

Someone said once (well, they wrote it,) that living well is the best revenge. Well, that hopefully applies to things other than just revenge. Living well is the best way to, well, live well (hey, if I mentioned digging a wishing well, I could have used the word “well” in three separate ways in one sentence. See? Enjoy the little things.)

The Little Things (Other than the Noisy Ones)

Finally, sometimes it’s small courtesies that matter the most. Little tokens of your esteem that go much farther than you might think. Notes left on the mirror, voicemails on the phone, a smiley face drawn on their coffee mug.

Little shows of your appreciation can go far in improving the morale of your night-time employee. You can do seemingly routine tasks such as recording their favorite shows or preparing a playlist of their favorite songs to great effect. Most times it’s the little things that people remember the most, because they are often the most easily overlooked. 

It doesn’t hurt that they are usually inexpensive, I might add. Just sayin’. 

Video below – Partner Works Night Shift: You Will Be More Than Okay

In conclusion, life with a night shift worker will be filled with negotiations, compromises, adjustments, and surprises (usually not the fun kind.) That being said, you are with that person for the best of reasons (unless you have been kidnapped, in which case you should use this time online to alert the authorities.) Those reasons will motivate you to do all you can to make their life just a little easier than it was without you. 

None of these suggestions will help though if you forget the simple fact that you really only need be yourself. If you feel strong enough for them to make so many changes, chances are they will do all they can to make your adjustments simple as well. After all, they chose to be with you as well (again, unless a kidnapping was involved, in which case you can look at my other blog entry “10 Things to Do While in Federal Prison.”)

Next is an interesting one to be on the lookout for. Hairless. Though I didn’t give this topic its own paragraph here, it’s still important to discuss. I know this may sound strange, but if your partner is stressed and burning the candle at both ends, they may experience embarrassing hair loss. I reference this article because I want you to be on the lookout for this, addressing it with kindness if you do. If this is happening, there is a problem that needs sorting out. Read why hair loss happens in this case.



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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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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