The mental health impact of working the graveyard shift is going to depend on several factors. The graveyard shift is generally considered the shift that runs from somewhere around sunset to sunup. This factor alone can be cause enough for depression to develop. If you’re considering working the graveyard shift, you might want to take a look at some of the factors below that could lead to depression.
Vitamin D deficiency: The body human body can look to a lot of sources for vitamin D. Probably the most overlooked source is sunlight. Our bodies absorb sunlight, which it then processes into vitamin D. The graveyard shift runs during the night hours. Then the worker sleeps during the daylight hours, missing out on any chance to absorb sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency and depression go hand in hand. Vitamin D supplements might be helpful to treat or avoid depression. Light therapy may also be useful.
Social neglect: If you work the graveyard shift and all of your friends work the daylight hours, you could miss out on socialization. Obviously, earning money is something you have to, but this lack of socialization could lead to loneliness and depressive symptoms. One way to deal with this is by taking a cell phone and communicating with friends while on break. Another option is to make friends at work and do planned activities with them.
Family issues: You might think since you don’t see your family all day that this time away would cause you to miss each other and want to bond more. While that may be true in some cases, the difference in schedules also might lead to a lack of communication and lead to a feeling of separation from the rest of the family. This feeling of separation may lead to feelings of loss and depression. Combat this by leaving notes, making arrangements to spend time together and attending family functions when ever possible.
Lack of sleep: The graveyard shift can be difficult for the body to get used to. It will take a while to adjust to the sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of mental health issues, like depression and even psychosis. Prepare yourself by trying to begin your schedule a few days in advance. This should help you to get your sleep schedule on track so that you can avoid mental health issues due to sleep deprivation.
The graveyard shift can be enjoyable for people who consider themselves to be “night owls”. It can also be harmful to people who crave sunlight and social interaction. If you work the graveyard shift, you might consider rearanging your schedule so that you can get your needs met while you earn money. It’s better to be preventative about potential mental health issues than it is to just wait for them to arise.