4 Things to Consider Before Working an Overnight Job

Those long nights might have bigger consequences than fewer Netflix binges.

A lot of the time, 24 hours in a day just doesn’t cut it. Between classes, homework, holding a job, sleeping and downtime, it is increasingly difficult for students to be able to get everything done during the day. In an attempt to balance everything they have got going on during the day, many students decide to work an overnight job.

Some of these night shift jobs include, but are not limited to, fast-food workers, resident assistants (RA’s), working the front desk in a dorm, janitor, security workers and cab drivers.

These late-night jobs can be very overwhelming and consume a lot of energy. However, students are continuously working these jobs because they get more time during the day and are able to work longer hours, therefore, earning more money. Yet, working an overnight job can take a toll on their life that far outweighs the benefits.

An Altered Sleep Schedule

After juggling to stay up all day attending class and going to meetings with groups, facing eight hours of work does not sound appealing. After working all night, you really just want to go to sleep. However, sleeping all day is not always an option due to classes and homework.

The night shift can create a vicious cycle that harms the quality and quantity of sleep you get. If you stay up all night and then sleep all day, you probably won’t be able to go to sleep early the following night.

Even if you don’t have to work the night shift every night, your body is going to internally change your sleep schedule in anticipation of another late night. You could be sitting up at 3 a.m. trying to sleep because your body is going back and forth with the time of day you typically go to sleep.

Even if you do have the opportunity to sleep all day, there are going to be plenty of things to jolt you awake. In fact, everyone else who was asleep while you were working is now awake and running around.

Most people’s busy schedules typically take place during the day as you might be trying to relax or nap. Roommates are getting ready and talking, people may be knocking on the door, your phone might be blowing up with texts and calls, the sun is up and probably shining into your room and many more unpredictable problems.


Working late might drastically limit time with your friends (Image via Matheus Ferrero)

Less Time for a Social Life

At the end of the day, all your friends are probably going to be relaxing and hanging out together. You could get some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) while you’re working and everyone else is having fun.

This wouldn’t be too terrible a few times, but constantly working at an overnight job and missing out on meeting friends and on-campus activities could start to get very frustrating.

Trying to maintain relationships with a group of friends can be especially difficult when they are busy during the day and you are busy at night. Being on completely opposite schedules could cause a lot of problems; your friends might feel like you are neglecting them and you might feel left out on all their inside jokes and fun nights.

Not being able to spend a lot of time with friends, a significant other or your family can cause even more problems. It can almost feel like a long-distance relationship when going days or even weeks on completely opposite schedules. A constantly busy and hectic schedule can definitely put a strain on your relationships.

Mental and Physical Health

Working all night and attending classes during the day can be extremely overwhelming. Being constantly busy and barely having time to relax or sleep will definitely take its toll on you. No one can handle being alert and focused on everything all the time.

Humans are biologically wired to sleep when the sun is down; an overnight job goes against that. This can cause stress, heart problems and grumpiness during the day.

Overnight jobs where workers sit at a desk or don’t move much can also be difficult for your physical health. Sitting down at a desk all night and then sleeping all day gives you very little movement which can be harmful to blood flow and vascular health.

Studies have shown that irregular sleep patterns and an interrupted circadian rhythm are harmful to both students and their grades. As a result, students who work overnight jobs are putting themselves at more of a disadvantage when it comes to their health and grades.

Students juggling responsibilities are forced to continuously change up their routines, which is not easy on the body and mind. Altered and constantly changing schedules will throw off your routine and can be harmful when it comes to your sleeping, eating and relaxing schedules.

If you do have a growing list of responsibilities, scheduling is key (Image via Brooke Lark)

Balancing Everything

Students have so much going on all the time. From handling jobs, homework assignments, presentations, group projects, essays, sports, clubs and internships, it is never easy. Yet, it remains crucial to get in some good rest and relaxation. Sometimes it seems as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, so students feel the need to work an overnight job.

This decision poses some tricky questions. What are you going to choose? What parts of your life are you going to have to sacrifice? You have to sacrifice something or choose one thing over another when you are trying to balance everything. Working the night shift means you’re probably giving up some much-needed hours of sleep, time to do homework or time out with friends.

When you decide to work an overnight job, you are deciding to give something else up. You’re going to have to choose one thing over another. Whether it be sleep, a social life, the effort you put into your classes, eating a home-cooked meal or even just some time watching some Netflix, remember to make your choices carefully.

Samantha Jorgens, Central Michigan University

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Samantha Jorgens

Central Michigan University
Journalism: Public Relations Concentration

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