our everyday life

How to Live With a Night Shift Person

by Lucie Westminster, studioD

Many jobs such as security guards, health care workers or firefighters may require your partner to work the night shift. Other times, your significant other simply needs to work late hours in order to increase your household's income. No matter the reason, living with someone assigned to the night shift can be difficult for both individuals. Despite opposite schedules, it's crucial to discuss ways to continually communicate and stay connected throughout the workweek.

Discuss sleeping arrangements. Decide if you wish to sleep in the same bed on the nights your partner works the night shift. If so, talk about coming in at night and leaving quietly in the morning given one of you will likely be sleeping when the other is coming or going.

Agree on a cooking schedule. Discuss if you want to take turns cooking and leaving leftovers for the other or if each person should be responsible for his own meal. If you choose to divide the cooking, set a schedule and write it on a calendar that you both can easily access to ensure each of you knows when to make a meal.

Schedule a time to talk and catch up on the day's events when you both are awake and not working. Even if this is just a few minutes each day, doing so improves communication between you and your partner who is working the night shift.

Send emails, texts or Facebook messages to your significant other throughout the day, even if she is at work. These can be read when she is able and can be used to communicate necessary daily information such as a time change for a child's school event, or you can simply send a message to say you are thinking about her. An article by the Lazarus Institute in "Psychology Today" stresses the importance of clarifying any questions and clearly communicating to ensure both parties are on the same page. Doing this helps make time apart seem shorter and less disruptive.

Place a message center in a location that each person will see when entering the house. Select a whiteboard, chalkboard or other erasable surface to leave important notes in case you miss each other due to different sleeping and working schedules. This ensures that any important information won't be missed.

Choose one activity a week, no matter how small, that you can do with your significant other working the night shift. Schedule this ahead of time so each of you can plan on this special time together. While a dream vacation is an excellent idea, it need not be anything on a large scale. A simple meal together allows you time to reconnect and enjoy a few moments together despite your opposite working schedules.

Items you will need
  •  Phone
  •  Computer or tablet
  •  Message center

About the Author

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images