Night Shoots: How to deal with going to bed at sunrise.

So you’ve got a 6:30pm call and you’ve gotta go all night - WHAT DO YOU DO?

For those Vampire/Graveyard shift workers - Let’s not panic - you’ll get better with practice but it’s all about changing your sleep pattern and creating a beautiful slumber spot.  The goal is to be rested and feeling refreshed and prepared on set so you can be AWESOME.  So...

  1. Plan ahead.  When I know we are heading into night shoots I start prepping my body by forcing myself to stay up later and gradually get there to a similar schedule so it'll be a little less jarring come shoot day.  
  2. Try and get complete darkness in your slumber spot so the harsh daylight doesn’t come through.  They make black out curtains which work wonders - make sure though that it really does block the sun.  Some cloth curtains can still let a lot of light in so - I suggest testing it - and you may have to double up some curtains.  And - make sure they fit all the way around the window so no light leaks in.
  3. Turn off your phone.  I have an iPhone and it has a great feature called “Do Not Disturb” which only lets chosen phone numbers come through in case of emergency.  This is essential b/c you don’t want to be awoken by some dodo head who doesn’t understand your vampire working ways.  
  4. Alarm is set.  I enjoy putting several alarms on to gradually wake myself.  This annoys others around me but it makes me happier when I finally wake up.  I’m working HERE!
  5. Drink lots of water.  This is a common thing I always find on lists but somehow it’s seems to fit.   So hydrate.
  6. I use a sleep mask b/c sometimes the curtains not enough and my loved one is getting ready for their day with the bathroom light on etc.  I call it my eye pillows.  I use the one made by tempurpedic which lets your eyes open in complete darkness. 
  7. If you have a lively house during the day -  get some ear plugs.  They’ve got all sorts of makes.  I find the simple orange ones work well.  Just scrunch up and place in your ears - and hello solitude.  Make sure your alarm is set on high volume!
  8. On set - try and resist caffeine after lunch for the first couple of days of your new schedule.  It’ll really effect how much you really want to sleep when you get off work.  
  9.  Make sure you have a nice brew/whisky/scotch ready when you get off work. You deserve it. (click to tweet)
  10. Enjoy the sunrise.  And be amused at the whole rest of the world going off to their offices while you sip on your beverage satisfied with a good days work.
  11. Hit the Hay.

Jon Swindall

Jon Swindall produces, directs, and shoots t.v. shows, commercial, and feature films.