Who says that night is for sleep only? Night hours are a great time to work as well. You can be very productive when working from 7-8 PM to 2-3 AM simply because no one disturbs you. You don’t get bothered by constant emails and noisy colleagues. You just sit down (or not — but we’ll talk about it later), focus on your work and do it. Of course, sometimes it can be hard to stay up at night and remain productive because it’s completely natural to get tired after the day. So perhaps you’ll put to good use our four major tips on how to work at night and stay productive.
#1. Sleep Healthy
Getting enough sleep and sleeping healthy is always fundamental for productive work, and working at night isn’t an exception. So, to be productive at night, you should improve the quality and perhaps the quantity of your sleep.
- Learn your rhythm
Sleep rhythm is the first thing you’ll need to learn if you want to work productively. If it’s not natural for you to work at night, don’t work at night. It might seem obvious, but it’s completely true. If you are an early bird, you are lucky enough because most work schedules in the world are already adjusted to your needs. Don’t try to go against nature and work when it’s not comfortable for you if you don’t need it badly.
- Remember about sleep consistency
If it is better for you to work at night, you should also learn what hours exactly fit you best. Try to test different schedules, and find the one which is the most convenient for you. While you can, of course, slightly vary and modify your night working hours, consistency is instrumental. Scientific studies show that it’s always better to fall asleep and wake up at approximately the same time. Researcher of the National Sleep Foundation Natalie Dautovich says that “our bodies crave consistency,” while erratic sleep patterns can be detrimental for both our health and work productivity.
- Get enough sleep
If you are often deprived of sleep, it will have a negative influence not only on the health but also on the ability to focus on a certain task and work effectively. Of course, it doesn’t concern only those people who work at night, but it is especially important for them since they mostly work after the long day. So if you work at nights, you should ensure that your day is not that long and don’t hesitate to compensate night work with morning sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends a healthy adult to sleep no less than 7 hours. Don’t even dare wake up earlier than at 10 AM!
#2. Create Appropriate Working Conditions
Even though appropriate working conditions are always important for effective work, this factor is especially significant when a person works at night and wants to stay productive. If you do night shifts in the office, you can skip this section and start reading the next one. But a lot of people spend their late working hours at home, and it can be much more difficult to create suitable conditions for work when your cozy and warm bed is not far away. So how to do it?
- Establish a working space
The evidence shows that more and more people today answer business emails, read reports, and do other work in bed. But, in order to work effectively, it’s important to find a working space where you will are able to concentrate on your tasks. What is even more important, you should make a clear distinction between the place where you work and the place where you rest. Don’t work in the bed where you always sleep. Not only is it bad for the productivity (which is quite obvious because the atmosphere of your bed will encourage you to fall asleep quickly), but it negatively influences the quality of sleep and the ability the fall asleep in the future. Don’t work on the couch which you use for Netflix and chill. It’s better not to work in the bedroom in general and find a separate room or a corner in the kitchen.
- Dress in work clothes
This tip is similar to the previous one. When working in your sleeping pajama, you might face some difficulties in trying to concentrate on the work. No need to wear a suit, but choosing a bit more formal clothes might be really helpful since it will prevent you from falling asleep.
- Find appropriate light
Appropriate light is important for you to focus on the work and don’t get distracted. Working in the darkness is a bad habit for two reasons. First, as well as working in the bed, it can encourage you to fall asleep — at that’s not what you want since you are reading this article. Second, working in the dark room with the laptop as the only source of light is bad for your eyes. Remember what we’ve just discussed? Establish a workspace other than your bedroom and create maximum working conditions there
#3. Drink — and Eat
- Use caffeine
Of course, it would not be wise to substitute night sleep with coffee. In moderate amounts, however, coffee can be useful for your health and work productivity. Don’t drink coffee an hour before going to bed because it can disrupt your sleep, but it will be completely okay to make a cup of coffee at 6 PM if you plan to stay up until 3 AM. Besides, you can drink a bottle of cola or a cup of lemon tea, both of which contain caffeine in lesser amounts than coffee.
- Drink water
Dehydration can enhance your fatigue and worsen the ability to work at night, and there is plenty research evidence which proves it. A glass of water might help you; and if you don’t like drinking plain water, you can grab a bottle of flavored ice tea or even eat a slice of watermelon in order to hydrate your body.
- Get a meal
There’s nothing bad in eating after 6 PM if you work at late night. On the contrary, getting a meal will energize you and will help stay up. Besides, you might want to save a few snacks in the evening so that you don’t spend your time trying to find some food at 1 AM when everything is closed. If you need a burst of energy, sugar can help you but don’t go for sweets too much since it is not very good for your health.
- Grab a stick of gum
A stick of chewing gum is not a panacea, but it is positive for short-term working performance, especially when you are tired. The study shows that chewing increases our blood flow, which leads to improving “working memory, episodic memory and general speed of information-processing”. Effective processing of information is can be quite a challenge at late night hours, so gum can be useful for increasing your work productivity.
#4. Use Physical Techniques
- Take a walk
Taking frequent walks is always positive for the health, especially when you live a sedentary lifestyle. Work productivity can benefit from a walk especially as getting some fresh air will help relax and/or reflect and plan your further work. If the weather doesn’t allow to take a walk, opening the window might be a good idea as well.
- Move the body and do exercises
Perhaps the deadline for your project is tomorrow and you don’t have time for walks. But you definitely have time to stand up and do basic physical exercises. It will increase your blood circulation, put the body in alert pace, and enhance your work productivity. As an alternative, you can talk with someone, especially if you are on a night shift with other colleagues in the office.
- Take a shower
As well as chewing and exercises, cold water stimulates our blood flow and prevents from falling asleep. Thus, if you work from home and can take a shower, it might help increase your work productivity. If you work in the office and can’t take a shower since you are not working in Google, washing your hands (especially wrists) and face can also help to wake up and concentrate on the work.
- Try to work standing
Sit down and work is an effective way to get the job done, but stand up and work can be an even more effective one. Not only will it help your health, but when you work standing, it will be easier to stay awake. Some people who constantly live a sedentary lifestyle say that they love to use both ways. You can even buy an adjustable standing desk, which allows you to work both sitting and standing and thus increases the productivity of your work at late night.