Being employed is one of life’s greatest blessings. It allows you to live a particular lifestyle, put food on the table and pay your bills and rent. Because of this, many people are willing to put up with some very difficult working conditions.
One of them is working the night shift. While night shift jobs are not always uncomfortable and come with their own perks, it is not for everyone.
While some believe they are night owls and are more productive during the night than during the day, their numbers are few.
Working night shifts for extended periods can cause specific mental and physical health issues. What can be worrying is that studies have shown that the problems creep up slowly, and it could be a while before one realizes that the problems result from night shifts.
The problems could be worse for someone who is not comfortable staying up at night and has only taken the shift due to compulsion and lack of other opportunities.
Hence, if the problems keep increasing, it is all right to consider quitting the night job and looking for a new position.
Signs That Night Shift Jobs are Affecting You
Working night shifts can cause several problems, primarily if you have never been used to working late or staying awake at night before taking up this job.
In that case, your body clock will undergo several changes, leaving you feeling uncomfortable. Here are some signs that point to the fact that the night shift is affecting you.
1. Sleep Deprivation
You might feel sleep-deprived a few nights into the shift. Since your body is used to rest during this time, adjusting to the changed timings will be difficult.
Some people might adjust to the schedule, but if you cannot get enough sleep during the daytime to compensate for the lack of sleep at night, you will always feel tired.
You will be irritable and find it challenging to keep your eyes open, often making mistakes at work. It is a sign that you must quit the job.
2. Stress and Anxiety
Once you lose out on adequate sleep, you will feel a rise in stress and anxiety. Sleep is the body’s primary coping mechanism, and no matter what you have gone through during the day, a good night’s sleep can put it to rest.
Night shifts will cause significant disruption, and you will find you are always at your nerve’s end. This is a major sign that the night shift is not suiting you.
3. Erratic Driving
Erratic driving is a major sign of your dissatisfaction with night shifts. If you are unwilling to go to work at this time of the night, you are bound to be unmindful while driving.
Moreover, driving at night, especially on poorly lit roads that are a little out of the way, can make you prone to injuries.
4. Loss of Appetite
Another sign that night shifts are affecting you is when you lose your appetite. Were you eating a regular diet before taking the night shift? Were you getting the required nutrition, only to find that you do not feel like eating anymore?
You might also find yourself losing weight on that account. This can signify that the night shift affects you because your body fails to maintain its natural rhythms. It could be devastating for your health if you keep going like this.
5. Feeling Friendless
Are you feeling alone and friendless all the time? Night shift jobs are not for everyone since the majority of the jobs are day shift jobs. Very few people are out on the roads after a particular hour, the shops close, and even the pubs close their doors.
This means that you have very few people to interact with, and chances are that you might not have many people working on the night shifts either.
Even if there are, meeting the same people and repeatedly discussing the same things can result in monotony. This can make you feel lonely and friendless at times.
6. Falling Sick
Have you fallen sick lately, especially after joining the night shift? Lack of sleep and extra exertion during odd hours can be stressful and disrupt your body’s natural healing powers.
Hence, if you feel that you have become prone to fevers, headaches, infections, or other kinds of illnesses, then it could be because the night shift is not suiting you.
Effects of Night Shift and Reasons to Quit
Once you have learned to recognize the signs of the night shift, you will start noticing the effects it has on your body and mind. And this will give you ample reason to think about whether you should quit the job or not.
Here are some of the reasons to quit the night shift.
1. Increased Blood Pressure
If you feel sick after joining the night shift and your doctor tells you that you have increased blood pressure, it is a good enough reason to quit. Increased blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular problems.
It will also make you feel stressed and sweaty and quickly become tired. You cannot go on with your health ruined, and you must speak to your doctor and think about quitting.
2. Poor Concentration
A night shift job can result in poor concentration due to ill health and sleep deprivation. And it is sure to lead to reduced productivity. This will lead to errors in work, and you will also have a poor work report.
Lack of concentration can also make you unmindful about your surroundings, and you may have trouble adjusting to your workplace. Feeling out of place at work will keep you distracted, and you should quit before the quality of your work plummets.
3. Increased Injuries
One of the worst things that can happen when you are not comfortable on night shifts is increased risks of injuries. If you work in an environment with greater dangers after dark, you should definitely consider quitting.
The increased risk can lead to accidents, and you might have to stay out of work for extended periods.
Moreover, if you are not comfortable travelling in the dark, it will also lead to emotional disturbance. Before that happens, try to change jobs to a day shift.
4. Addiction to Caffeine or Alcohol
If your stress during night shifts has led to addiction, you must consider quitting the job. You might be relying on much caffeine to help you stay awake through the night.
Or, your added stress might get you addicted to alcohol as a coping strategy. Or, you could be hooked on video games or any addiction that helps you get through the night, even if you have work to do.
This is an unhealthy pattern; if nothing else helps, consider quitting the night shift.
5. Poor Metabolism and Digestion
Another harmful effect of a night shift job is messing up your digestion and metabolism. Working through the night and sleeping during the day will mean that your meal patterns will undergo a drastic change.
This could lead to loss of appetite, poor digestion, constipation, weight loss, or putting on even more.
You might even develop eating disorders, and it could be challenging to understand when your body needs food. In such cases, consider quitting the job if the problem persists.
6. Lack of Vitamin D
One of the significant ill-effects of working night shifts is that you face a severe lack of Vitamin D as you do not have enough scope to go out in the sun.
Vitamin supplements are insufficient to compensate for the lack of sunshine, which could lead to paler skin, tiredness, and lack of strength.
By the time you come home from work, you are ready to go to sleep in the morning, and when you wake up, the sun has already set. You must consider quitting if you face health issues due to a continued lack of Vitamin D.
If you face burnout and you feel you cannot go on with the night shift anymore, then that, in and of itself, is reason enough to quit. You will feel demotivated going to work, find no joy in the shift, and be in a constant state of misery and tiredness.
You will also complain of physical ailments that can lead to even more distress. Before matters take a turn for the worse, consider quitting the job.
8. Missing Family Time
One of the major signs that night shifts are affecting you is that you are missing out on precious family time.
You miss your spouse or your kids, and even your parents if you have had to move far away from them. This can cause many psychological issues- both for you and your family.
Your family might feel your absence acutely and end up having regrets.
After all, you only reach home when the kids are off to school, and by the time they come back, you are either catching up on your sleep or getting ready for the shift again.
This cycle can become difficult to break, but eventually, it will take its toll.
Points to Consider Before Quitting Your Night Shift Job
Quitting a job is not easy, even if it is a tough night shift job. However, when things become too stressful to handle, you should consider quitting, but only after taking some necessary precautions. Here are some of them.
1. Prepare all the Medical Documents
If your night shift job has resulted in physical distress that has led to illnesses like heart problems, high blood pressure, or anxiety, then you should keep a record.
In that case, your boss will know you have a genuine reason to quit, and it will not reflect poorly on your work report.
2. Look After Your Finances
Even if it was a night shift job, it did help you pay your bills. Hence, before quitting your job, ensure your finances are in order.
Try to see that you have enough savings for at least two to three months’ expenses so that you would not have to worry about making ends meet even if you do not land another job immediately.
3. Try to Secure a Day Job
Before quitting your night shift job, securing a day shift job is always a good idea. This will make you more confident about leaving.
You can look for positions in other companies or ask your employers if there are any openings for day shifts in the same place. In that case, you wouldn’t have to change companies.
Once you have figured out the signs that a night shift job is not suiting you, you need to prepare a mindset to quit your night shift. Do not stay in the grueling job just because you feel you do not have any other option.
You might think for a while that you may come to love your night shift job and that your body will eventually adjust, but you should be honest with yourself. If you feel you are not feeling good about it even a few months into the job, you should start looking for alternatives and think about quitting the night shift.