Burning the Midnight Oil? 6 Safe Strategies for Staying Up Late

Staying up late puts a heavy strain on you, but there are situations where it’s unavoidable. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, about 16 percent of Americans worked a night schedule between 2017 and 2018.

To help you function effectively, this article covers 6 safe ways to handle working late at night.

Create a Fake Daytime Schedule Overnight

John Cline, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, said you should change the average daytime schedule to accommodate your waking hours. This means you should still perform your daily activities even though it’s nighttime.

For instance, you can meditate, read, or catch up on your favorite show, just like you would after a daytime shift. This would help your body feel natural while working at night.

Aim for 8 Hours of Deep Sleep

Colleen Carney, PhD, director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University, said you should always aim for deep, restorative sleep when you’re trying to rest.

You can do this by hanging blackout curtains in your bedroom to block out sunlight. A noise machine or earplugs can also help you tune out the events happening around the house.

Maintain A Consistent Sleep Schedule

Dr. Cline said it’s immensely helpful to keep a consistent sleep schedule. This means if you sleep at 8 a.m. and wake up at 4 p.m. during the work week, this routine should still be maintained during the weekends.

Stay in Bright Light

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, short bursts of light improved the alertness of night shift nurses while reducing their anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

Take a Power Nap

Cline said taking a 30-minute power nap during your lunch break will help you through the rest of your shift. According to research, a nap of just 10 to 20 minutes is perfect because you won’t enter deep sleep and feel groggy when waking up.

Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

According to the National Institutes of Health, staying up late has been linked to diabetes, obesity, and other health issues connected to the body’s metabolism. You can avoid unhealthy eating by sticking to healthy meals that contain whole grains, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and lots of fresh vegetables.


Working late can ruin your sleep schedule and make you feel exhausted. You can use these tips to stay effective despite the irregular work arrangement.