As businesses operate 24/7, the need to hire more employees has increased. More employees are required to work around the clock. A job usually has three rotations; one in the morning, next in the evening followed by one in the night. 

The last of all the rotations have become more evident in business operations these days. More people are willing to work in the last shift given the monetary benefits. 

This article will explore the third shift, its benefits, and its impact on the human body. 

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What Is the Third Shift?

The third shift starts around midnight and goes on until morning. Every business follows its own timings according to which they start and begin third shifts. However, it is safe to assume that most businesses begin their third shift at around midnight. 

The third shift is also known as the night and graveyard shift.

Jobs That Require a Third Shift?

The reason behind running third shifts depends on the nature of the businesses. Some businesses are open for 24 hours such as hospitals and police offices that require employees to keep the business up and running. However, there is an exception to that. Some businesses still require employees to work post-midnight even though they don’t run 24/7. This is because they feel that work gets done conveniently in the third shift. For instance, some companies require janitors to work night shifts for cleaning purposes. 

Here is a list of industries and within them popular jobs that utilize third shifts extensively. 

Health Care 

Health care facilities are responsible for tending to patients all day and thus require staff to work around the clock. Apart from medical staff, health care facilities also require employees to fill non-medical positions. Some of them are:

  • Pharmacists 
  • Nurses
  • Janitors
  • Cleaning staff 
  • Hospital security staff 
  • Ambulance drivers

Public Safety 

Community safety is one of the top priorities for many countries. This is because emergencies and crimes can happen at any time. Therefore, public safety workers have to be available at all times. One of the public safety sectors that require staff at all times are:

  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters 
  • Police officers 
  • Security guards 


Pandemic has given a boost to online shopping. But other than the pandemic, increasing digitization has also led people to opt for more convenient options. This means that businesses have to operate for longer hours or even 24 hours. Naturally, this calls for people to work at night. Stores, whether big or small need workers for:

  • Cashiers
  • Store managers 
  • Sales representatives 
  • Customer service associates 


Hotels, motels, resorts, bars, and casinos have to keep their doors open all the time to provide a warm welcome to their guests. In the case of a hotel, guests arrive several times a day. Therefore, the staff is required to ensure that guests feel relaxed and welcomed at all times. These places cannot function without the following:

  • Chefs
  • Dishwashers 
  • Hotel managers 
  • Housekeeping 
  • Bartenders 
  • Receptionists 

Customer Service 

Some businesses aim to provide customer service at all times. For that, they need people to either respond to calls or answer queries. Either way, businesses need employees to respond to customer needs in real-time with the following jobs:

  • Call center representatives
  • Customer service representative 

Night Shift Allowance 

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, working night shifts do not require extra pay. However, this is subject to agreement between an employer and an employee.

The Comprehensive Guide to the Third Shift 

How to Stay Awake On the Night Shift?

If you have decided that the night shift is what you want to do, here are a few tips that can help you get through the shift easily. Generally, it is challenging to train our mind and body to sleep during the day and work during the night unless you are already a night owl. 

Nap Before Work

Sneak in a quick nap before you start your shift. It will freshen you up for the long hours ahead. 

Bright Light

Try working in bright light at your workplace. This is because it will fool your body into assuming it is daytime. 


A steaming cup of coffee or caffeinated soda will definitely help you stay up all night. 

Blackout Curtains

Since you will be sleeping during the daytime, having blackout curtains will block the sunlight from penetrating into your room. Here again, you are fooling your body and mind into thinking it is nighttime. 


Get your family members to cooperate with you so that you can easily adapt to your new schedule. Ask them to cause no interruptions during your sleep time in the day. 

Effects the Third Shift Has On Your Body?

When the nature of business demands employees to work the night shift, there is little that can be done about it. Employees who have been working the third shift for a prolonged period have had some adverse impacts on their mental and physical health. 

Disrupts Sleep

A night’s sleep comes naturally and sets our bodies in a rhythm. Sleep is essential for overall health because it reduces stress and gives a break to your body. However, when people stay up at night and choose to sleep in the morning, the natural sleep cycle gets disturbed and leads to several illnesses. 

Increases Risk of Heart Diseases 

Drastic changes in the sleep cycle affect blood circulation and blood pressure increases the chances of the night shift worker contracting heart disease. 


Your mental health takes a toll when you work third shifts. Chances of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders increase.  

Increase In Obesity and Diabetes

Working at night causes a hormone imbalance in our bodies. No matter how careful you are in watching your diet, this imbalance may lead to obesity and diabetes. 

Deprives Of Vitamin D

Needless to say, vitamin D is essential for human health and growth. Although vitamin D is found in foods like yogurt, cheese, tofu, and salmon, the one that you get via sunlight is irreplaceable. Working at night reduce your exposure to sunlight increases the chances of contracting:

  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart diseases 
  • Prostate cancer 

Changes in Metabolism 

The human body produces a hormone called leptin that governs the metabolism rate in the body. This particular hormone regulates a person’s weight, insulin, and blood sugar level. Working the third shift disrupts the production of this hormone leading to disorders like obesity and diabetes as mentioned earlier. 

The Comprehensive Guide to the Third Shift

Benefits of Working a Night Shift 

Working the third shift comes with financial as well as personal benefits. Night shift schedules are different from the conventional routine that most employees follow which is why most employers are willing to pay a premium. 

There are several benefits for working the third shift:

Higher Pay

As mentioned, due to the third shift’s non-traditional hours, it is always a challenge for employers to find employees to fill in this time slot. As a consequence, employers have to pay more than the morning shifts even though the work and responsibilities remain the same. 

Increased Productivity

Workplaces are quieter and less crowded during the third shift. An employee will have to report to a manager but the buzz caused by people chatting will be far less. This will allow you to focus on your work and be more productive

Day Remains Free.

Working at night means you have to sleep during the day. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sleep the entire day. You can definitely take some time out for some healthy activities such as going to the park, walking, exercise or simply meeting your friends. 

Less Traffic

Commuting during the night becomes easier because of less traffic. You can get to work on time by avoiding rush hour. You can even leave late knowing the fact that traffic in the early morning is not as bad as it would be later in the day. 

Faster Advancement Potential 

Less competition combined with fewer distractions leads to increased productivity. When an employee performs well in their job, they are easily able to make faster career advancements. 

Some Common Terms for Different Shifts 

1st shift

Consisting of traditional business hours, 1st shift is the first rotation of the day that starts at 8 am and goes on until 5pm. These are referred to as normal working hours as it allows employees to get home early and have dinner with their families. 

2nd shift

Following the first shift is the second shift that typically starts in the evening around 4pm and ends at around midnight. Second shift workers earn higher than the 1st shift workers because, as mentioned, it is challenging to find people who are willing to work later in the day. The 2nd shift is also known as an afternoon shift or swing shift. 

3rd shift 

3rd shift, as discussed until now, pays higher than the 1st and 2nd shifts. Following the 2nd shift, the 3rd shift starts around 10 pm and ends at 8 am though the exact timing may vary from one business to another. 

Graveyard Shift

Graveyard shift is another name for the third, midnight, and night shift. It is called this because the shift happens at night with less distraction, people, and noise hence making it like a “graveyard”. 

Swing Shift 

Swing shift is synonymous with the afternoon and second shifts. It typically begins mid-afternoon and stretches until midnight. 

Final Word 

If you’re looking to advance faster in your career, you may consider working the third shift. With fewer people in the queue, securing promotions becomes easier. 

Working the third shift also reflects on your commitment and potential to be there when the company needs the most employees to keep the business functioning. This can also help you get good evaluations and better raises. 

However, it is important that you also consider other factors before signing up for a third shift. For instance, you may want to evaluate if the night shift routine will suit your health and personal life. You also would want to ensure that you’ll be able to stay committed to working night shifts. 

In case, you do plan to, you have to ensure that you look after your mental as well as physical health. 

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