When you have to get up early for work, you don’t appreciate when your neighbour plays music a little too late or seems to be catching up on housework. But “early” and “late” are defined differently for everyone depending on work schedules.
The world does not function on nine-to-fivers alone. There are many jobs that demand round-the-clock workers — doctors, nurses, waiters, bartenders, flight attendants, police officers — the list goes on.
As a shift worker, your sleep cycle is likely disrupted by the everyday hustle and bustle of your neighbours, in the same way theirs would be disrupted by your routine in the middle of the night.
For those of you renting that are on an off-schedule, here are some tips on how to survive rental life.
Earplugs are great even if you don’t work shiftwork! A friend of mine with roommates swears by them. Generally speaking, most cities do not allow excessive noise before 7 a.m. or after 11 p.m., so if your sleep pattern falls outside those times, earplugs will save you hours of tossing and turning. If you normally come home from work around 4 a.m., wind down and go to bed around 5 a.m., only to then be woken up by the family upstairs prepping for their day, invest in a good pair of earplugs. They will help you sleep through the commotion.
Avoid a unit with southern exposure
For some, a southern exposure unit is a highly coveted rental spot because it garners more sunlight than others. But for a shift worker, it’s best to avoid. While sunlight is important, and especially so if lack of light depresses you, it can also make it hard for you to sleep if you are working off-hours. Look for a unit that benefits your schedule.
Try to secure a corner unit
If you’re looking to rent in a building, look for a corner unit so that you can set up your bedroom in a room that doesn’t share a wall with anyone. This will avoid the usual noises shared between thin walls in buildings, and ultimately help avoid frustration between neigbours.
Talk to your neighbours
There are some noise rules that exist, but for the most part, they do not benefit the overnight worker. Let your neighbours know your schedule to warn them of any everyday noise on your end. This will (hopefully) encourage them to be aware of their own regular noise in the morning when they are getting ready or when they are coming home in the evening. It can be hard to work in shifts — if you get home from work at 11 p.m. and need to clean your house, will your neighbours mind if you pull out the vacuum? Talk to each other and sort out what will work and what won’t. Just because you don’t work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. doesn’t mean you should have to give up your own routine, but you also need to be mindful — and so do your neighbours.