Shift Work vs 9-5: What Working Schedule Best Suits You?

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Have you ever stopped to consider what working schedule you are best suited too? Most people haven’t, until they are in the thick of a job that they aren’t enjoying and don’t know how to get out. Shift work vs 9-5 is the question – we’re here to explain what working scheduled you are made for.

When comparing shift work vs 9-5, ones personality traits determine the schedule that suits them. A persons sleep pattern, adaptability, social requirements, energy levels and independence will cater to different shift types. Spend time understanding your traits and align to that shift type where possible.

There are many personality traits and overall types that can tell you what working schedule is best for you. For instance, certain personality traits can influence your ability to tolerate certain sleep schedules (source). Your personality type can also be a good indicator of the best work schedule. (source).

This article explores how your personality can be used to find the best work schedule, information about the different personality traits/types and a comparison of the pros and cons of shift work vs 9-5. We hope to open your eyes on the best working schedule for you!

Shift Work vs 9-5: Pros and Cons

Shift work can have a lot of effects on you, regardless of personality type (which we will explain more in a second). Not everyone experiences all or even any of these effects, though. In general, shift work tends to affect your health more while daytime work tends to affect your lifestyle more.

Shift Work: Pros

Shift work can have both positive and negative effects on you (sourceOpens in a new tab.). Some of them have to do with your personality traits, while others are universal. You can read more about personality types and work schedules below.

To start, there are several benefits that people can get from shift work (sourceOpens in a new tab.). These mostly have to do with lifestyle, since shift work gives you a lot more control over your daily activities. Some things that shift work can help include;

  • Money
  • Flexible schedule
  • Personal time
  • Workload

Many shift workers earn more hourly pay than their 9-5 coworkers. This is because many companies offer evening or night differential, which just means that you have a higher hourly rate for those hours than for daytime hours. This is not a standard, though, so you would need to check with your specific employer.

Shift workers also tend to have more flexible schedules than people who work in the daytime. You still need to find time to sleep but you will have more control over your schedule.

For instance, daytime workers usually have to take time off to go to appointments and run other errands. As a shift worker, you will not see as much conflict in your schedule.

On that note, you will also have more alone time during the day since most of the people you socialize with will be at work. Other than running errands, you can also use your free time to work on personal development. This could be learning a new skill, participating in your favorite hobbies, or even just relaxing during the day.

The workload and work atmosphere are also something that shift workers tend to enjoy. Because most companies do not operate at night, at least not fully, you can expect a much calmer work environment. This typically means a lighter workload and less interaction with coworkers, customers, etc.

If you need to know more shift work advantages before you alter your schedule, check out this popular post.

Shift Work: Cons

All of that being said, shift work does come with a list of negatives as well (sourceOpens in a new tab.). These also relate to lifestyle changes but you will likely see negative health effects as well. Some of the cons of shift work include;

  • Less social time
  • Physical health
  • Mental health

Because most people work day jobs, you might find that you do not get to see friends and family as often as you like. There may be some overlap between schedules where you can hang out but this will likely only be an hour or two at most.

Shift work tends to increase stress. People who work night shift also tend to have abnormal sleep schedules and unhealthy diets. In general, these changes can affect many different parts of the body. Some of the negative physical health effects that you may see over time include:

  • Insomnia: inability to sleep
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Gastrointestinal issues: inability to digest properly
  • More vulnerable to becoming sick
  • Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased stimulant use
  • Increased risk to physical safety at night
  • Obesity

In addition, the changes in diet, sleep schedule, social interaction, and overall physical health can also affect your mental well-being. People who work shift work often show the following:

  • Irritability
  • Reduced concentration
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders
  • Feeling lonely or disconnected from people

9-5 Schedule: Pros

9-5, or a close variation of it, is the most common schedule for full time employees and according to The Washington PostOpens in a new tab., it has both its pros and cons too. While shift work more negatively affects your health, daytime work can cause more lifestyle changes an interruptions. Some of the pros include:

  • Better overall health
  • Routine and structure
  • Job security
  • More oversight
  • More social interaction
  • Easier to coordinate schedules with friends and family
  • Regular sleep schedule

In general, people who work the 9-5 shift have better sleeping, eating, and exercising habits than shift workers. Because of this, you will likely find that working 9-5 will lead to better overall health.

These jobs are also more “typical” in that they come with structure, a good amount of management and oversight, and social interactions. In addition, working during the day and having people around means your physical safety is less at risk.

Not only will you get more social interaction at work, you will get more social interaction at home as well. Working day shift also makes it much easier to coordinate schedules since most people work during the day.

9-5 Schedule: Cons

Though 9-5 can still give you a flexible schedule, it does not offer quite the same flexibility as shift work. There are a few other cons as well including:

  • Taking time off to go to appointments/errands
  • Less likely to have overtime
  • No evening differential
  • Higher workload
  • Monotonous work
  • May be harder to focus due to socializing

While working 9-5 does generally give you more ability to socialize, it makes it harder to run errands and go to appointments. Because most companies operate during the day, you are much more likely to have to take time offer to go to personal meetings, medical appointments, etc.

You may also get less monetary compensation than those who work shift work in the same job. You will not have evening/weekend differential and you probably are not going to get much, if any, overtime hours.

You will also notice a different flow about your workday. For starters, it is going to be much more routine work than what you would have with shift work. Some people may also be bothered by the additional oversight from management.

Personality and Shift Work: Personality Traits

Your personality can drastically affect how well you handle certain jobs. A lot of this will have to do with what type of work you prefer, how social you are, how well you adjust to physical changes, etc.

If we start with shift work as an example, one major component is the sleeping schedule. Humans are designed to be asleep at night and awake / active during the day. This 24-hour internal clock is called the circadian rhythm (source).

We chat a lot more about our body clock in this post titled – Shift Work Has Me Tired All the Time: How to Boost Your Energy!

It is not necessarily the 24-hour cycle that affects your energy. So, even after transitioning, you will likely still feel tired. Nighttime triggers the brain to release melatonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you relax and fall asleep.

That said, certain personality traits can help you manage sleep schedule change tolerance better than others. For instance, one study from Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at morningness, flexibility, languidity, and hardiness.

Morningness (being a “morning person”) was correlated with better sleep-related day shift (9-5) tolerance. Flexibility (adapting to change) was correlated with better sleep-related evening and night shift tolerance. Languidity (low energy) was correlated with lower sleep-related tolerance for all shifts. Finally, hardiness (endurance) was correlated with better sleep-related tolerance for all shifts.

What all of this means is that, to be suitable for the night shift sleep schedule, you need to be flexible and have a lot of energy. While energy is related to both personality and physical health, it is important to note that this can change based on your personality. People with low energy are going to struggle with all shifts but evening and night shifts will be the worst for them. Needless to say, “morning people” do better with day shift.

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Shift Work vs 9-5: What Does Your Personality Best Suit

People may sometimes have trouble picking out certain personality traits they have. There are many personality tests that employers can use to figure out whether you will be a good fit for the job or not. The good news here is, you can also take these yourself!

There are many mock personality tests online that will help you out. If you want a more official test, though, you can generally get them by paying to take them through what are deemed “official: websites. You can also meet with a therapist or other medical professional who is certified to administer these tests. Many employers will choose to administer these to you as well.

Three of the most common personality tests are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16pf), and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). For our example below, the focus will be the Myers-Briggs test, since it is the most common.

Many mock Myers-Briggs exams can be found online. These questionnaires help you understand which of the categories you fall under for each personality indicator. The basics of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs FoundationOpens in a new tab.) are:

  • Favorite world: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Information: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
  • Decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Structure: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

It should be noted that each of the type indicators are a spectrum, so it is possible to fall somewhere in between. The official test can give you more information on this.

Starting with favorite world, there are two basic types of social styles among people. Extraverts prefer lots of social interaction while introverts are generally better in less social environments.

Relating to work, extraverts would probably do better in day shift since there will be more social interaction. On the contrary, introverts might be better adapted to shift work or night shift, with less people around.

People with sensing information styles take a lot of information in using the five basic senses. On the other hand, people with intuition styles take more information in using hunches and impressions. Sensing types have fantastic attention to detail but see less of the big picture. Intuition types are great with brainstorming and think more conceptually (NBC News).

As you can imagine, sensing vs intuition type personalities both have pros and cons when it comes to a work schedule. Sensing types would likely do better on night shift, since the work mostly consists of fine detail projects rather than a big picture. Intuition types would work well on day shift since they are great at bouncing ideas off other people.

Regarding decision making, thinking types make decisions based on logic while feeling type personalities make decisions based on emotions and personal experience. Thinking personalities function better in solitude than feeling types do, so night shift would be a decent choice for them. Feeling types would benefit from day shift and having other people to talk through situations with.

Lastly, judging personalities prefer a strict structure and routine while perceiving personalities prefer flexibility and spontaneity.

In general, day shift is much more structured, so this is the ideal environment for judging personality types. In contrast, night shift requires flexibility and adaption to change so the perceiving types would flourish in this environment.

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Personality and Sleep Routine

Myers-Briggs personality types can also be used to get an overall view of your sleep routine needs. The different personality types have different bedtime routines which include socializing, hygiene, recreation, etc.

A few surveys have shown differences in bedtime routines between personality types (16 Personalities, Mattress Advisor). While not all of these are directly affected by the time of day, some of these activities may be more difficult at certain times. So, going off of bedtime routine preferences, you could get a better understanding of which shift would be better for you.

For example, people with ISTJ, ISTP, ENTP, ESTJ, and ESFJ personalities generally participate in activities that are harder to do at the time they would be going to bed when working nights. These include socializing, working, drinking alcohol, etc.

ISFP personalities often take medication to aid with sleep, so night shift may be a good option for them. Other personality types are more flexible in their bedtime activities; watching TV, reading, showering, browsing the internet, etc.

16 Personalities breaks the 16 Myers-Briggs types down into four categories; analysts, diplomats, sentinels, and explorers. The following Myers-Briggs types fall into each of these categories:

  • Analysts: INTP, ISTJ, ENTJ, ENTP
  • Diplomats: INFJ, INFP, ENFJ, ENFP
  • Sentinels: INTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ
  • Explorers: ISTP, ISFP, ESFP, ESTP

The people in this survey were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “You are more productive in the evening than in the morning”. You can see the results of the survey in the graph below.

SourceOpens in a new tab.

As you can see, analysts and diplomats would probably be better suited for shift work. Explorers would likely manage decently. Sentinels are the least likely personality types to be to handle to shift work vs 9-5, according to this survey.

Transitioning Your Schedule

Regardless of personality type, you may need to do shift work or change your work schedule at least once in your life.

The transitions can be difficult when going from one shift to another but there are things you can do to make it a little easier. Some things to keep in mind to manage your overall well-being during the transition include:

  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Socializing
  • Recreation

Let’s explore each one in more detail.


The sleep transition is probably going to be the most difficult part of the process. So we’ve decided to share a thorough guide on what’s required when transitioning, more so specifically around night shift wrokers.

The UCLA Sleep Disorders Clinic suggests delaying your bedtime by 1 or 2 hours each night to adjust to the new schedule. They also talk about the importance of napping in keeping yourself alert throughout the night, when working night shift.

Even if you get a full 8 hours of sleep before your shift, your body is still going to release melatonin overnight. This means that you will still get tired throughout the night but naps can help to alleviate it.

If your schedule allows for night shift workers, a nap before work can be very helpful for getting you going. This will be your longer nap of the day, about 90 minutes. If you can, try to nap over your breaks at work. 15-20 minute power naps can help you a lot.

Lastly, since you will undoubtedly be tired on the drive home, taking a nap before leaving work is suggested. This nap should be between 20 and 45 minutes.

Read more about napping as a shift worker and how to be really good at it here.

Unfortunately, though you may feel extremely tired once you get home. You might still find that you have trouble falling asleep. Because human body is not programmed to sleep during the day, it may feel like your body is trying to fight the sleep. You can take a natural melatonin supplement, which you can get over-the-counter. If you are having a lot of trouble, you can talk to a doctor who may prescribe a sleep aid.

Read more about melatonin here whilst also checking out some popular sleep aids your doctor may prescribe. They are not all equal so it’s worth checking this post out.

Light is also very important throughout your day (source). You are going to need to “trick” your body in a way by simulating night during the day and vice versa.

To shield yourself from the light, you could look into getting a blindfold (these are our favorite onesOpens in a new tab.) for at home or dark sunglasses if you need to go outside. Blackout shades are really helpful as well. Though at work, your working area should be very well lit. Sunlight lamps (like this stylish one Opens in a new tab.on Amazon), blue light blocking glasses pictured below and related products are great for keeping your energy up. #ad

In addition, you will need to minimize distractions while you sleep. Most importantly, have the conversation with people who live with you about your sleep schedule. Let them know your sleep schedule and its importance.

You can also set up visual reminders like a calendar (see our favorite ones here). Turning your phone on silent or airplane mode, wearing ear plugsOpens in a new tab., using a white noise machine or app, etc.  are great ideas to drown out unwanted noise.

We know moving from one schedule to the next can be painfully exhausting and so we made a video to help people transition from day shift to night shift. Check it out below.


Regarding diet, nutrition experts recommend having your main meal a few hours before your shift (source). You should also have a small meal and several light snacks throughout your shift. A light snack before bed is also very helpful so you don’t wake up hungry. There are a few foods you should avoid as much as you can including:

  • High-fat
  • Fried
  • Spicy
  • Sugary
  • Caffeine

Your diet should include a lot of protein. This helps keep your energy up. Snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables and those that have whole grains are your best options. It is best to pack some snacks for yourself to have at work so you know the ingredients.

We recently published a post titled – You Should Meal Plan When Working 12-Hour Shifts: Here’s Why which you’ll love if you keen to improve you shift working diet.


Exercise is also important for energy and overall health. Shift workers may find it difficult to establish an exercise routine so the recommendation is to tailor it around events in your day, not times (sourceOpens in a new tab.).

Try to get your exercises in when your energy is at its peak. Also, try to go easy if you decide to exercise when you first wake up.

Check this this post we wrote about fitting in exercise and how to make it a sustainable habit.

Yoga stretching


Socializing and recreation are incredibly important for your mental well-being. It can be hard to coordinate schedules with friends and family. To combat this, you should try scheduling one or two events per month ahead of time. It is fine to change up your sleep schedule around these for a day or two as long as you do not do it too often.

Keep in mind that you also now have coworkers who follow the same schedule as you. You may want to consider seeing if they would like to chat or hang out outside of work.

This post titled – No More Relationship Problems Because of Opposite Schedules is defiantly one to check out if your a social butterfly and your struggling with shift work.


During the day, you can use your free time running errands, going to appointments, and working on personal development.

For example, you can take a daytime class, read a book, do yoga, watch TV, go for light walks, etc. You should try to keep your activities light so you can make sure not to use up all of your energy reserves.

Summary: Shift Work vs 9-5: What Working Schedule Best Suits You?

Some people may not have the luxury of choice, but if you do, make sure you spend some time understanding who you really and the type of working schedule that suits you.

After reading this article, you should have a clearer understanding of the different personality characteristics that lend themselves to shift work vs 9-5.

Knowing this, we hope you can make an informed decision on your next job application, or have a conversation with your boss about potential alternate working arrangements.


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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.

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.

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