You've been on patrol now going on 4 hours... As you sit in the RMP writing that last job in your memo book with the torn cover, you say to yourself, "Why did that couple call the police? Johnny hangs out every weekend and never comes home before 4 A.M." But all you know is that you can barely keep your eyes open. "How can I keep doing these midnights?" you think to yourself. It takes a special type of person to adjust to the rigors of working late tours. If you don't consider yourself a true vampire, here are some tidbits to help facilitate your metamorphosis. Now these are not hard and fast rules, but they can help you make a relatively easy transition:
- Take the time to prepare your own meals at home and bring it to work. You know, “Brown bag it.” In case you didn't realize, many stores are actually closed during the graveyard shift. So you may find that you are forced to indulge in “healthy” foods from the array of “fast food joints.” The importance of healthy eating cannot be stressed enough. If your consumption on the midnights consists of these meals exclusively, then plan a new wardrobe change at the end of 3 months. There goes the uniform allowance. Working midnights is a guaranteed weight gainer, unless you take heed and plan ahead.
- Due to the fact that you're functioning opposite of your internal clock, it's more difficult to fall asleep in the daytime as opposed to the evening. Try placing room darkening curtains in the room. Science has shown that any light in the room - even emanating from a clock radio - can be detrimental to sound sleep. Complete and total darkness is a necessity. You could also invest in one of those eye masks or eye pillows. It may feel awkward at first, but eventually you'll get used to it.
- Continue your same sleep pattern on your days off. If you try to adjust to a day schedule solely to “catch up on sleep” and then go back to the midnight schedule, your body will be in a constant state of flux. Be consistent with your sleeping habits.
- Do not negate the importance of selecting a compatible partner at work. It is true that manpower for the midnight squad is particularly smaller than the other squads, so choosing a partner might not necessarily be a reality. If you are given the opportunity, make a wise selection. This person will be your wife, husband, confidant and guardian angel. Being with someone on your "wavelength" is crucial. You will be spending more time with him/her than your actual family members.
- Plan outings with your fellow squad members. While
this suggestion is not endemic to just the midnight squad, it's importance is amplified because there are so few of you. Remaining as a solidified unit is paramount. Going to breakfast after a grueling tour to exchange stories can prove to be quite comical and therapeutic.
- WARNING!!! The next suggestion is only for the true midnight warriors. To become more confident with learning the job and better prepare yourself for possibly taking future promotional exams, read the Patrol Guide when you can. Yes, many believe that MIDNIGHT TOURS + PATROL GUIDE = COMA. However, it can prove to be helpful if you read the procedure of the jobs you handled during the night you will know precisely how it's done. Of course, there is the real world; and then there's the patrol guide world. If you have aspirations of taking a promotional exam then you better know the patrol guide world. Besides; what better way to impress your supervisor than to have everything at a job done before he/she arrives.
Hopefully these little suggestions will help you to enjoy
working midnights. To be sure, you will come up with your own
methodology of coping with the late tours. Just make sure your
plan promotes your good health and well-being.