Lady of the Night

No, not selling my body for money except in the sense where I show up to work and they pay me every two weeks for my presence and whatever I do at work.

I’ve been working the mid shift this week which is already a challenge in itself, trying to convince your body that its circadian rhythm is wrong and you actually should be up all night and sleep all day, but also because I’m pregnant I can’t rely on caffeine as much as I probably would if I were not.

I’ve done overnight shifts before, they’re pretty routine in military life, but they tended to be limited to one night every few months and not a dedicated week of mid shift work.

For me, the keys to successfully staying awake all night and then sleeping most of the day:

Bring lots of food. When I worked individual mid shifts I’d get hungry and tired around 2 a.m. necessitating a run to the gas station where I’d buy energy drinks and candy. That’s not sustainable for a week (or adulating, really) so now I take the time to pack my food. I try to pack one actual meal plus plenty of healthy snacks. I love fruit so I tend to pack a lot of fruit.

A pregnancy consideration is I can have about 100mg of caffeine a day so I save my caffeine allotment for the mid shift. I’ll have one cup early in the shift and maybe a second one before the halfway mark, depending on how things are going. I also have tea and hot cocoa if I just want to sip something.

Take walking break. It’s hard to sleep if you’re moving so every hour or so I make sure I get up and walk around a bit.

Daylight lamps help. I bought a “happy light” in Alaska to simulate daylight when it was dark in the winter and to fend off the winter blues. It’s found a second life at my desk where its bright light does the same trick.

Bring something to keep you occupied during down time.. After a point, I don’t produce quality work and start getting a little loopy and tired. I bring a book or knitting with me so I have something low-key to focus on and keep me alert.

GO TO SLEEP. After the shift, obviously. I drive home, let my dogs out, and go straight to bed. To avoid waking up from sunlight, I use an eye mask to help keep things dark and also ear plugs sometimes.

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