How to Quickly Switch from Night Shift to Day Shift

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Adjusting from a night shift to day shift schedule is, unfortunately, not as straightforward as flicking a switch. But we can speed up the process and help “reset” our body clocks with a few helpful hints I have learned through life as a nurse.

On your last night shift, either have a short sleep for approximately 4 hours, resisting the temptation to press snooze on your alarm. Alternatively, stay up for as long as you can, going to bed around 9 pm. When awake, stay busy, get out and enjoy the sunlight.

This post explores a step-by-step guide on how to smoothly adjust from night shift to day shift. We give you tips on what to do once you get home, when you should wake up and how to transition to a traditional schedule without feeling like you’ve just been hit by a bus. 

If you’re interested in the best tools to help you sleep, such as blue light blocking glasses and night lights, you can find them on the Swanwick website by clicking here.Opens in a new tab.

If you prefer to watch a video rather than read a blog post we created one just for you! Check it out below.

Have a Shorter Sleep Once Your Final Night Shift Is Complete

This is my go-to method after completing my final night shift.

Set your alarm for a time where you only receive a maximum of 3-5 hours of sleep. For me, this was around 1.30pm (at the latest) if I got to bed around 8.30 am.

If you need a new alarm which just “gets you” this Philips Alarm ClockOpens in a new tab. from Amazon is great and we highly recommend it.

Also, don’t forget to active the do-not-disturb setting on your phone to minimize sleep disturbance. If you need help on how to activate this setting check out this post here.

We also recommend charging it outside your bedroom.

When your alarm does start to squeal in the early afternoon, it’s unbelievably challenging to obey it. But forcing you out of our cozy bed ties in well with our next tip…

Do not snooze

Do not fall back to sleep. Do not go back into bed once you’re out. If still in bed, don’t read your book or scroll on your phone for any longer than 15 minutes.

Keeping yourself busy will limit that feeling of drowsiness and decrease the temptation to pull back the covers and fall asleep… again.

I once pressed snooze (but actually turned off my alarm and didn’t wake till 6.30pm… It’s safe to say I was a complete zombie for about a week.

Just as a side note, my sister, a fellow nurse, frequently sleeps till 5 pm on her last night shift and can still sleep for 9+ hours that night, going to be around 10 pm. So my above “rule” applies to most but not all.

Insider Tip: Once your alarm rings and you finally get up, make the bed. It sounds silly, but this trick mentally stopped me from getting back into bed so many times.

Once You’ve Awoken from Night

Open the blinds and let in the sunlight… be careful, your eyes will take a second to adjust. 

Then take the time to do either all or at least a few of the following things listed below (or anything which stops you from falling asleep on the couch is a good option).

Attend an Appointment You Have Pre-Paid, That You Cannot Miss

I often got my hair cut, and visit the dentist, doctor or another health specialist (if need be).

I am very specific about arranging these sorts of appointments at this time to get me out of bed.

You could also use this precious time to do something for yourself like get a massage, shopping or getting your nails done.


I pre-prepare my activewear by the bedroom door, with my shoes and socks too!

I need to make sure that exercise is the first thing I see in the early afternoon if I don’t have an appointment to get me out of bed. 

Aim for completing a moderate to intense exercise workout around 3 pm (as exercising and showering any earlier could make you sleepy).

This will totally wear you out leading to an easier sleep later on.

We recently wrote a post about exercising after a night shift which revealed some very interesting results in regards to sleep quality.

You can check out the post here titled, “Sleep or Workout? What Should I Do After Night Shift?

I also recommend exercising outside if the weather is nice.

We chat about this more in a moment, but the sunlight is a HUGE factor in resetting your body clock and adjusting to the day shift schedule.

So, why not explore your neighborhood on foot and take your dog with you! 

While I mention dogs, a popular post we wrote about is how to manage a dog and shift work. It’s worth a read if you’re wondering how it’s possible. Check it out here.

Complete Your To-Do-List

This is similar to the suggestions we gave earlier but instead of having an appointment booked, go and complete your jobs.

I try and make a point of leaving multiple jobs I need to do for the week prior to this time, to give me something purposeful to do.

Such jobs could be: the bank, post office, dentist, pay bills, dry cleaning, wash the car, grocery shopping and meal planning for the next shift.

Catch up With Your Friends and Family

Surely these wonderful people in your life will keep you out of bed?

Focus on those who make you laugh, keep you relaxed and not discuss big, life-changing issues.

Nobody should ever make important decisions after night shift if it can be helped.

Insider Tip…

Avoid a heavy alcohol session after night shift, as the aftermath will hit you a lot harder than you’re ready for and will have an effect for days.
How to Quickly switch from Night Shift to Day Shift - The Other Shift - Picnic in Park Friends
How amazing does a picnic in the park with your favorite people sound on a sunny day?

Alternatively, Stay Awake All Day Once Your Final Night Shift Is Complete

Personally, this is impossible for me as I am unbearable to be around due to sleep deprivation!

Just ask my husband Dan (a fellow shift worker and co-founder of this shift working website. You can read more about our story here.)

But others who I have worked with swear by this.

Their routine looks something like this; after work, stay as busy as possible using the suggestions we gave earlier. Have an early dinner and hit the hay around 8-9 pm for just over the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep.

The key here is to keep busy, stay out of the house and use a coffee nap if you need.

If you are bored during this time and just can’t think straight, we recently wrote a post titled, “Bored on Night Shift? How to Stay Busy Without the Internet“.

You’ll find some unique suggestions in there to stop you falling asleep!

The next few sections of this post are all about how to fast-track this process of adjusting from night shift to day shift so you can feel like yourself again.

Insider Tip…

Switching from night shift to day shift sleep can be tough in the beginning to find your groove. Be kind to yourself, listen to your body and give it what it wants.

Re-Establish or “Reset” Your Sleep Routine After Night Shift

The quicker you can “reset” your body clock, the better the transition from night shift to day shift will be. 

But the main driver to “resetting” your body clock is sleep. So the more you can get during this transition time the better. 

There are a few critical things to think about here to speed up the process. 

  • Get some sun and soak up the Vitamin D
  • Help reset your sleep cycle with blue light blocking glasses
  • Fine-tune your sleep routine and adjust the thermostat 
  • Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated

Let’s explore these in a bit more detail 

Get Some Sun and Soak up Vitamin D After Night Shift

Getting adequate sunlight exposure is one of the MOST important things you can do, and it doesn’t cost you a cent!

Soon after waking, catch up with friends or family by taking a walk in the sun.

If your friends are busy, enjoy some breakfast (or lunch) in your yard or balcony in the sun, admiring the view or reading the newspaper.

Night shift workers often miss out on precious Vitamin D, strongly linked with healthy bones, so let the sun help shake the night shift blues and wake up your circadian rhythm.

I have previously spoken about the sun hindering our sleep here, and don’t want to confuse anybody by suggesting the opposite, but remember we are in reverse now.

Related post: Is Night Shift Bad for You? 11 Truths Uncovered

We are trying to wake up and “reset” our body clocks and switch back to day shift.

If you’re interested in maintaining healthy skin while working the night shift but scared about the sunburn, you’ll enjoy the post we wrote about the best products and skincare regimen while on nights.

The order in which we should actually be cleaning our face and with what products really shocked me! Find out what you should be doing here.

Help Reset Your Sleep Cycle With Blue Light Blocking Glasses

When using your device to wind down after your “big day” of doing jobs and seeing your friends, wear blue light blocking glasses to help you sleep and adjust to the day shift MUCH quicker.

They stop the headaches and glare we often get from looking at our screens for too long and they also help our sleep hormones readjust to the day shift schedule. 

Dan and I wear blue light blocking glasses from Swanwick Sleep and cannot recommend them highly enough for you.

Check of the Swanwick Sleep website here to get a pair for yourself.

They are a little more expensive then some other brands you see online but in my opinion, they are the very best as they block out the most blue light out of anyone on the market.

We are pretty passionate about these glasses and have written a bunch of different posts to help you. Here is a couple you can browse through with a coffee in hand:

I wanted to throw in a great video by the owner and creator of Swanwick Sleep, James Swanwick.

He explains the point of these glasses and why are they worth your money.

Insider Tip…

Encourage your body to associate night time and darkness with sleep by wearing blue light blocking glasses. They allow you to still use your devices and watch TV without disturbing your sleep quality.

Fine-Tune Your Sleep Routine After Night Shift

As I mentioned, this adjustment period is all about sleep.

We, unfortunately, cannot “bank” sleep before we start nights to “use” it at this time… which would be nice I know. But our bodies have not yet evolved to the shift working lifestyle yet!

Your body needs to start paying attention that you now want to sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s light (as we are programmed to do) so we need to encourage buy-in from our body clocks.

But how do we do this?

Along with what we have already suggested, establishing a sleep routine where the 2 or so hours before bed look the same is a great start.

We are talking about having a warm shower, drinking tea, using aromatherapy, meditation…etc. 

We have written heaps of quality posts about establishing a sleep routine targetting different areas which we encourage you to explore.

What does your bedtime routine look like?

Going to bed around the same time and “winding down” with the same behaviors will help link those things to sleep, making the transition between night shift and day shift quicker.

Think about your routine. What can you change to help your sleep hormones adjust?

Adjust Your Thermostat

Along with the above posts, making sure your room is cool is hugely important to how well you sleep and how quickly you will adjust from night shift to day shift. 

The ideal temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. (source)

You’re body naturally cools overnight so don’t make this process any harder than it needs to be. 

Using a ceiling fan, the air con or a portable fan can be really useful here. Not wearing heavy PJ’s will also have an impact.

Insider Sleep Tip…

If you can’t sleep after an hour, stop stressing over the time your wasting and instead get up and do something for 15 minutes (wearing your blue light blocking glasses). You’ll be surprised how reading or folding clothes puts you in a state of unconsciousness.

Other Sleep Routine Tips:


Use an aromatherapy diffuser with essential oils, like lavender and vanilla, to help put you into a calm, relaxing headspace.

This URPOWER Essential Oil DiffuserOpens in a new tab. is hugely popular on Amazon and well worth a look to create the “day spa” experience in your bedroom.

Click below to check out our other recommended defusers and why we love them.

Eliminate Snoring

Is snoring a problem at your house?

You are now most likely on the same sleep cycle as your partner and their snoring doesn’t need to impact on how quickly you adjust to day shift.

The VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece could be the answer to your prayers! This incredibly nifty, custom mouthpiece comes with a 60-Night Risk-Free Trial so there are no issues if it doesn’t work.

Check it out on the Vital Sleep website.

Use a Sleep-Promoting Book Light

Use an amber reading lightOpens in a new tab. attached to your book rather than a bedside lamp, either before you sleep and if you happen to wake up throughout the night.

It’s much calmer on your eyes and won’t disturb your partner. We have written a post which compares the best lights on Amazon here

We love the Manta Eye Mask! Get your here
Dan wearing swannies reading
Blue Light Blocking glasses – See the entire range here

Use Sleep Music

Listen to relaxing sleep music on Youtube or via a playlist on Spotify.

We wrote a whole post here about these relaxing tunes and have personally benefited from this method despite how weird it felt in the beginning.

Get Your Bedding Right

Have bedding that you adore and a pillow you cannot wait to lay your head on.

If your sheets, mattress and pillow drive you crazy or cause you pain, it’s time for an upgrade.

The Nolah Signature 12 Mattress will absolutely blow you away.

As for pillows, Dan and I use the Snuggle-Pedic Supreme Plush Pillow.Opens in a new tab. We love it. It’s big, soft, very supportive and worth the extra money! In the past, we have just bought cheaper pillows but we went all out (as we figured we spend a third of our day laying on it) and now we can never look back!

Is your partner or spouse also a shift worker? How do you go sleeping on your own at night? As a previous shift-working wife (when Dan worked the permanent night shift) I know it can be lonely at times.

So we wrote two specific posts to help those out who find themselves in this position.

Please find the links below.

Use Sleep Aids With Caution

If you need, try over-the-counter medications like Melatonin.

We’ve had success in the past but we now only use it as a last resort.

We find we wake up feeling groggy and have had much better success with the above options. But we think it’s always good to have some in the cupboard just in case.

The NOW Melatonin 5 mg SupplementOpens in a new tab. is great value if you need a stash in your panty.

You’ll see lots of different doses generally from 3mg – 10mg but Dan and I both found the 2.5mg- 5mg was enough to help you sleep, hence why we recommended the above product via Amazon.

Take a look at this post we write titled My Top Tip for Taking Melatonin on Night Shift: Plus 10 More for more information.

Drink Herbal Tea (Instead of Caffeine Before Bed)

Peppermint tea is also very calming after a meal to ease digestion

Read 7 Essential Night Shift Tips: Making the Impossible a Reality for more information.

How to Quickly switch from Night Shift to Day Shift - The Other Shift - Man Drinking tea in bed

Insider Sleep Tip…

Stay away from the caffeine 4-5 before you plan to sleep. Chamomile tea or lemon and ginger tea are great alternatives to coffee if you’re wanting something warm to drink at this time.

Related post: 9 Shift Work Best Practices You’re Probably Not Doing

Eat Healthy Meals and Stay Hydrated

Our body clocks prefer us to eat and drink while it’s light and when the sun is shining.

Why? During the night our digestion slows (for most of our sleep cycle) and our bodies are basically not accustomed to eating at this time. 

Read When Should I Eat on Night Shift?

We need to encourage our bodies to reset to the day shift schedule by eating not only healthy, nutritious meals but doing so while it’s light.

Do not eat a giant pizza just before heading to bed on your transition morning – you’ll suffer from horrendous reflux and be in a food coma for days! 

Read What Should I Eat After Working Night Shift?

As soon as you get up in the early to mid-afternoon enjoy a snack or breakfast item and enjoy it in the sun.

My go-to was a homemade, takeaway smoothie with banana, oats, blueberries, almonds, protein powder and yogurt.

If I made anything which required me to sit down with an actual plate or mug, it’s simply another excuse for me to sit down and not leave the house. 

I have made a few posts about healthy meal options here:

If you wanted to completely wash your hands of controlling what you eat as a shift worker, DietDirect offers some incredible food choice and drink selections that can be delivered to your door.

Why do we like this program?

Diet and Weight LossOpens in a new tab.
Click to explore DietDirec

Click DietDirect to find out more. (#ad)

Be Smart With Your Roster on Night Shift

To help adjust from night shift to day shift your roster can play a big part (well in the future anyway…) 

If you have the ability to request your roster, there are two main points I wanted to share to get you thinking.

  • Roster to immediately come back on to a day shift post finishing nights.

Sounds crazy, but try doing a swing shift or a shift starting around 5pm the morning you finish night shift. I.e. finish nights Friday morning and request to work Friday at 5pm.

This is not my first choice, but I know a few shift workers who swear by this method to re-set their cycle back to days the quickest. Bring on the coffee people!

Just a quick note about the swing shift.

We recently published a post on how to manage this non-traditional schedule which you can access here. I wish I had some of the tips here when I started!  

  • Group your night shifts together.

We understand some prefer to complete a single night over a group of them, as it works best with kids and family commitments.

But for others, try grouping them together to give your body clock some regularity to help sleep. Normally 3-4 in a row is my usual roster and it works quite well.

This may also mean you are doing night shifts less often per month.


Summary: How to Quickly Switch from Night Shift to Day Shift

Switching from night shift to day shift sleep is not for the faint-hearted. But for those working a rotating roster, it’s a staple part of the working routine!

Pulling yourself out of bed and obeying your annoying alarm is tough, but it’s not impossible.

Take the time to really look after yourself by getting out of the house and exercising, catching up with friends in the sun and eating a healthy diet. Every little bit counts!

We hope you enjoyed our post on how to transition from night shift to day shift. What do you use to adjust quickly? Please comment below.


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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.

8 thoughts on “How to Quickly Switch from Night Shift to Day Shift

  1. Hi! I just recently switched from working 3rd shift nights to working 2nd shift. I work in a factory and use my hands a lot. I’m doing the same job, but I noticed my hands hurt more now than they did when I was working nights. Any insight into why that might be?

    1. Hi Sheila,
      Thank you for taking the time to connect with us. Sorry to hear about your hands. We couldn’t see a reason why the type of shift you work would impact your pain, so our suggestion would be to speak with a health professional who should be able to point you in the right direction.
      Good luck with having this resolved as quickly as possible.

  2. I work a rotating shift 7 days – 7 off- 7 nights- 7 off. It is an absolute struggle coming off nights. I will literally accomplish nothing the entire 7 days off because either I’m exhuasted from getting no sleep or I can’t get out of bed till 3 or 4pm. I live a very active lifestyle being in the gym 2 hours a day and racing motocross and enduro. I eat as healthy as I can assume through research and coaches. I have not found a solution to switching over. I’ve tried staying up all day the first day off and I find I’m just a useless zombie the whole day. I’ll get a good sleep that night, but the second day off I’ll go to bed at 11pm and always wake up at 1 or 2am and then just lay there with my eyes closed for 5 or 6 hours before falling back asleep. Then I wake up at 2pm and I’m right back where I started. This will perpetuate all the way through till I start my first day shift again, where I will 9 times out of 10 go back to work day shifts on ZERO sleep. I’m a bit of a basket case with regards to sleep so I will definitely be trying the suggestions here, thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    1. Hey Andrew, thanks for your comment and giving us an insight into your personal situation. Have you tried not switching back at all? It could be worth staying up till around 3 am and sleeping till midday the following day? You obviously cannot train in the mornings but you can still enjoy 8+ hours of the daylight. Do you wear blue light blocking glasses? They have honestly saved our butt and worth looking into if you’re on the fence. Cheers, Em.

  3. So emma..after the last night shift and taking a “short sleep” should a person get some bright light exposure first thing upon awakening to reset the body clock ?

    1. Hi Jay. Yes. Crack open the binds, stick on some activewear and take a walk/run outside. Our body clock is dependent on the light to signal what’s happening and what it should be doing. Getting adequate sunlight exposure after your last night shift can help your body clock figure out what it is supposed to do, giving you a greater chance of sleeping that night and not being a zombie the following day. Cheers. Emma

  4. I work the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift for almost eight years. I no longer do this and I’m trying to work a regular day shift job. I have not worked for three weeks and are currently enjoying the time off. But I sure hope I can get used to the day shift and look forward to the new schedule. Good luck everyone. Thank you for your advice.

    1. Thanks, Chris! You’re welcome. We wish you luck as you try and find your new normal. If you need a hand with sleep as you get back into the swing of day shift, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Em and Dan

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