If you’re interested in a job that offers more than one option for shifts, then you may find yourself facing a potentially difficult decision. Figuring out whether the first, second, or third shift is the best fit for you can be challenging, particularly if you haven’t worked an alternative shift before.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a sound choice. If you have the ability to pick your shift, here’s how to figure out what may work best for you.

3 Things To Consider When Choosing Between First, Second, and Third Shift Jobs

Consider Your Body’s Natural Rhythm

How a person’s body releases melatonin – a hormone that plays a big role in your circadian rhythm – changes over time. While many people believe that all adults have a cycle that makes the first shift best, that typically isn’t the case.

With younger adults, melatonin doesn’t tend to release as early in the evening as older adults. As a result, they might not begin to feel sleepy until later at night and, since they naturally feel inclined to go to bed later, may need to sleep later to get enough shuteye.

Since the release of melatonin is a natural function, choosing a job with a later start time – such as what you may find with a second shift job – as a younger adult may be a good move. It potentially lets you align your work hours more closely to your natural rhythm, which might be beneficial.

However, that doesn’t mean older adults can’t be night owls or that younger people may not be early risers. Every person is unique, so it’s wise to determine where your preferences lie. That way, you can choose a shift that feels right based on when you’re most alert.

Find Out About Shift Consistency

Often, it’s easier to remain productive at work if your shift is consistent. If your hours change significantly on a regular basis, it’s hard to develop a reliable sleep/wake rhythm. As a result, you continuously have to readjust, a process that may not be ideal for your health or mental wellbeing.

Before you accept any shift, find out if it’s likely to change in the near future. If the answer is no, then you can go with the option that best aligns with your natural cycle. If it may, then you’ll need to determine if the schedule changes may pose a hardship, allowing you to make wiser choices about what’s right for you.

Factor in Your Other Responsibilities

In some cases, your other responsibilities may dictate what shift is best. For example, you may need to accommodate a school schedule, care for a child or family member, or handle other tasks that have to occur during certain hours.

If you have outside responsibilities that you need to attend to, choose a shift that makes that possible. That way, your work, and personal life can coexist with greater ease, ensuring you can tackle everything on your plate.

Ultimately, getting to choose a shift gives you control you may not get with a company that only has one option. Consider what works with your rhythm, preferences, and life, then select the shift that feels right to you.

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