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Does the Night Shift Make You Moody?

Is there a connection between working the graveyard shift and moodiness? Night shifts can set up for some pretty serious psychological issues. They go beyond just feeling a little snappish or occasionally off.

Okay, truth time. It’s just us here, so let’s be honest with each other. Does working nights make you grumpy? Cranky? Short-tempered?

For myself, I see a definite connection. I notice it most on my flip day… when I’m switching from nights back on to days. I’m sleep-deprived, I’m depleted, and I’m not in the mood for anyone’s shenanigans. Sometimes I just quarantine myself from society and hang out at home. But other times I need to show up at a dinner party or some other social thing and let me tell you…. the struggle is real.

DYK that a night shift schedule sets us up for mood issues that extend beyond just feeling a little off as we flip back and forth? 

According to a Sleep Foundation article: “Shift work disorder can increase the risk of mental health problems like depression. This may be because of the disruption of the circadian system (which regulates the release of different chemicals in the body).”

How to battle back? Part of the answer lies in keeping social connections alive.

The article continues: “Shift work can also cause certain social issues that decrease wellbeing and happiness. If you work irregular hours, you might eventually feel ‘out of step’ with the people in your family or social network.”

If you’re looking for ways to keep those social connections alive, check out my blog post “How to Have a Social Life on Night Shift.” It has lots of ideas about how to stay connected while working a shifty schedule.

Graveyard shift and mood disorders

Last updated: 2024-03-09

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Lauren McGill

I work at the intersection of healthcare and storytelling. As a medical writer, I help healthcare experts publish content so they stand out as thought leaders.

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