I Work the Graveyard Shift

An estimated 8 million Americans work through the night, scurrying to the office while the rest of the world settles into bed. Would it work for you? Here's what we asked women who work the overnight hours.

Steen Sunland
Kelly Bowman, 39, High Point, NC. Laboratory technician

  • The hours: "I work from 6:45 p.m. to 6:45 a.m. testing super-absorber polymer, which is the material used to line diapers."
  • Why I took the job: "I'm nocturnal — been that way since I was little. I really like the lifestyle. Shopping during the day is much easier and faster."
  • The trade-off: "I've fallen asleep at the wheel very briefly a couple of times while driving home. Luckily, nothing bad happened. Once I fell asleep on the toilet and almost fell in."
  • How I stay motivated: "I play my iPod and dance around the lab when no one's looking. When I'm off, I love wearing my Christian Louboutin heels and Badgley Mischka dresses."
  • Secrets of an overnighter: "Diet Cherry Dr Pepper. I probably go through at least four cans a night."

    Kristin Nelson, 27, Springfield, MO. On-air reporter for KY3 News

    • The hours: "I'm up at 3 a.m. and ready to go on camera by 4:30 a.m. I'm done by noon."
    • Why I took the job: "I get to cover all the breaking news that happens overnight. It's just me out there — it's a lot of responsibility and great exposure."
    • The trade-off: "It's really tough to maintain a social life. If I wasn't working these hours, I'd meet more guys."
    • How I stay motivated: "I go shopping, which keeps me in a good mood. I like buying shirts I can wear on-air."
    • Secrets of an overnighter: "I use Preparation H for my under-eye bags. I read it in a magazine, and it works!"

      Dawn Leonard, 39, Austin, TX. Senior police officer, mounted unit

      • The hours: "I patrol Austin's bar district on horseback from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m."
      • Why I took the job: "You run into a lot of entertaining people that time of the night — I'm rarely ever bored."
      • The trade-off: "I cover events on Halloween and New Year's Eve, which can get out of control and dangerous."
      • How I stay motivated: "We're responsible for tending to our horses. I feel like he's my own."
      • Secrets of an overnighter: "It's easy to pig out that late at night, so I always pack healthy snacks from home."
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