Dec 30 / Kennedy Kao

How Do Security Guards Stay Awake During Night Shifts?

A male Flex Point Security guard smiling as he stands outside of a client's site next to a door and yellow pole
Working as a security guard on night shifts can be quite demanding, even for night owls. Our bodies are inclined to rest during the nighttime, making it difficult to stay alert and focused when working in the wee hours. This is especially the case when you need to stay in one area alone, a situation security guards usually find themselves in.

In this insight, let’s explore ten effective strategies that security guards can employ to stay awake during those sleepy night shifts.

1. Walking Around or Physical Exercise 

Remaining stationary for extended periods can contribute to fatigue and drowsiness. If your responsibilities allow for it, incorporating periods of physical exercise or short walks can give you that needed boost. For example, doing 15 jumping jacks every half hour will give you a physical routine to follow and get blood pumping through your body. By promoting blood circulation, you are helping keep both the mind and body alert and ready for when an emergency strikes.

2. Having a Conversation

Engaging in a conversation with a colleague or even making occasional rounds to interact with others on the premises can provide much-needed stimulation. If you’re on mobile patrol, talking with someone on the phone can also help maintain focus. Knowing who on your security team is also working night shifts elsewhere can help you find someone to socialize with. 

3. Find Ways to be Stimulated

Things like puzzles, squeeze balls, or even a Rubik’s cube can keep the brain active. As long as it doesn’t distract you from your duties and there’s downtime that doesn’t require constant surveillance, you should bring what you need to keep you awake. Talk to your supervisor if you’re unsure whether the activity or item you want to bring will cause a distraction. 

4. Caffeine

There’s bound to be a 24/7 Tim Hortons or McDonald’s near your site. Whether it’s coffee, tea, or energy drinks, caffeine can provide a temporary energy spike, helping security guards stay alert. Just make sure you don’t go overboard, and watch out for the caffeine crash that will be bound to hit you. 

5. Staying or Keeping Cold

Keeping the environment cool can help combat our natural tendency to feel drowsy during the night. You can use fans, open windows, or air conditioning to maintain or create a refreshing atmosphere. When working in the winter, turning off heaters or going for cold night walks can be that proverbial cold splash of water in the face (splashing your face with cold water help as well!). 

6. Healthy Diet and Wellness

Eating light, nutritious snacks and keeping hydrated throughout the night are terrific ways to prevent energy crashes. When you’re not working, you should prioritize a balanced diet and engage in wellness practices so that your body and mind are fit to work all types of security guard shifts. 

7. Loud Music

Playing upbeat or energetic music can be a great way for security guards to stay awake and maintain focus. However, it's important to be mindful of the volume to avoid disturbing others. Listening to an artist’s new album or listening to new genres of music can spike up your engagement levels, keeping you stimulated. 

8. Stretching

A good stretch to the sky or an attempt to touch your toes promotes that nice blood circulation and will leave you feeling refreshed. They are also low-effort compared to doing physical exercises. Some of our favourite energy-boosting stretches include calf raises, quad stretches, neck rolls, and wall angels

9. Taking a Nap Pre-Shift

A power nap of around 20-30 minutes right before your shift can refresh the mind without inducing grogginess later on. If you are frequently assigned to work night shifts, scheduling a quick power nap before heading to work can create a natural itinerary that your body can follow. 

10. Enjoy the Beauty of the Night Shift

Rather than viewing the night shift as a challenge, you can change your perspective and appreciate the unique aspects of working when everyone is asleep. It might take some time, but enjoying your isolated environment can give you the inspiration to stay awake, ensuring you don’t miss anything the night might offer. You might even find the still environment ideal for reflective tasks, such as journaling or audio recording your thoughts. 

Stay Awake With Flex Point Academy 

The demanding nature of the security guard's night shift requires proactive strategies to stay awake and alert. Flex Point Academy preaches the tips above, plus more, in our Ontario Security Guard Training Course. This course can be taken online or in person. 

With Flex Point Academy, you can develop your skills to start and advance your career path. Below are our keystone courses that all security guards should consider taking to ensure excellent performance on the job. 

Ontario Security Guard Training
First Aid & CPR Training
Traffic Control Training
Fire Alarm Training
Security Guard Training: Customer Facing
Security Guard Training: De-Escalation
Security Guard Training: Pat Downs and Bag Search

Be Equipped with Flex Point Gear

Never be unprepared for a security shift again. Visit our Gear Page where you can find essential items for all levels of security guard work. We also have tools and accessories for your camping trips, hiking outings, and safeguarding your home from potential threats.