Reasons to Quit Night Shift: A List (Letter samples and Reasons)

In this brief guide, we will look at a list of reasons to quit night shift, as well as some letter samples to quit the night shift that you can use if you are leaving the night shift.

Reasons to Quit Night Shift

Here are some of the most common reasons to quit night shift:

  • Being unable to spend time with family
  • Having a baby
  • Not feeling well
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Disability
  • Safety concerns
  • Inability to cope with daytime
  • Day responsibilities that interfere with the night shift
  • Migraines
  • Weight Gain
  • Lack of Rest

In most cases one may need to provide a reason to quit night shift because in most contracts, there is no clause stating that the person will only be working at certain times or in certain conditions, which means that the employer’s discretion is likely going to come into effect at some point.

This means that if you want to quit night shift, you need a good and valid reason, but thankfully, because there actually are many ill-effects of night shifts, if you are prone to any of them or are experiencing any of them, getting a note from the doctor about them and attaching it to a valid resignation letter detailing what the individual is going through may be good enough to exempt them from the night shift.

You can also try to convince your employer to give you a brief respite from a night shift if it is hurting you very badly, or if your reason to quit night shift is more because you have pressing responsibilities at the current moment rather than a permanent condition that will keep you out of the night shift for good.

Psychological Effects of Working Night Shift

The psychological effects of working a night shift may become apparent rather quickly, and the person may start feeling sad or empty from the first week itself, if not earlier.

The feelings of emptiness that often seem to surround working night shift can sometimes be because our brains are not programmed to work in conditions where we have been taught to rest, and there is a structure in the brain that explicitly works to maintain a sense of day and night, which may not be aware that the person’s job has switched.

This structure in the brain is known as a Pineal Gland, and along with other structures like the Hypothalamus, it helps to maintain the necessary rhythms in the body.

Melatonin is a chemical in the body that also seeks to maintain the sleep related patterns of our body, and sometimes just because we have gotten our shifts changed the body may still go on producing this hormone, making the body confused and going into a state of survival mode.

Other psychological effects of working night shift are as follow:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Apathy
  • Anhedonia
  • Sleep-wake issues.

The biggest psychological effect of working night shift may be a sleep disorder known as the Nonorganic disorder of the Sleep Wake Schedule, which may be very jarring for people who suffer from it, and this disorder is discussed below.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Nonorganic Disorder of Sleep Wake Schedule

This is possibly the biggest possible bad effect of working the night shift, and the Sleep Wake Schedule disorder is defined by the ICD 10 as “A disorder of the sleep-wake schedule is defined as a lack of synchrony between the individual’s sleep-wake schedule and the desired sleep-wake schedule for the environment, resulting in a complaint of either insomnia or hypersomnia.”

The ICD states that the disorder can come about as a result of anything, whether that is an internal factor or external, and it can cause major problems.

“Individuals with disorganized and variable sleeping and waking times most often present with significant psychological disturbance, usually in association with various psychiatric conditions such as personality disorders and affective disorders. 

In individuals who frequently change work shifts or travel across time zones, the circadian dysregulation is basically biological, although a strong emotional component may also be operating since many such individuals are distressed.

Finally, in some individuals there is a phase advance to the desired sleep – wake schedule, which may be due to either an intrinsic malfunction of the circadian oscillator (biological clock) or an abnormal processing of the time-cues that drive the biological clock (the latter may in fact be related to an emotional and/or cognitive disturbance).”

Following are the diagnostic criteria for this disorder:

  • “The individual’s sleep-wake pattern is out of synchrony with the sleep – wake schedule that is normal for a particular society and shared by most people in the same cultural environment;
  • Insomnia during the major sleep period and hypersomnia during the waking period are experienced nearly every day for at least 1 month or recurrently for shorter periods of time;
  • The unsatisfactory quantity, quality, and timing of sleep cause marked distress or interfere with ordinary activities in daily living.”

Sample with Reason to Quit Night Shift: 1

Given below is a sample letter you can use to quit night shift, and it should give you a fair idea of what a letter to quit night shift might look like and how you can express your reason for wanting to quit night shift.


100 Broadway Lane, New Parkland, CA, 91010

Cell: (555) 987-1234

Dear Ms. Rosenblum,

I am writing to request you to change my shift schedule from being a night shift manager position with ABC Industries. 

I have been suffering from significant stress and depression because of the constant demands of my night shift, and I recently visited a psychiatrist who corroborated this information as well.

I would not put you in this difficult position if it wasn’t hurting my health as much as it is, but sadly I see no other option, and I need to ensure that I stay in good psychological health.

I really hope you will consider my request, and I am also attaching the relevant doctor’s notes for your perusal to bring to your notice the issues I am facing due to my schedule. I hope to give my 100% again as a member of the day shift and to this end I hope to hear from you soon.


Doris Banks”

Sample with Reason to Quit Night Shift: 2

In the sample letter to quit the night shift given below, the person outlines the problems they are facing due to their night shift, and without going into too much detail they talk about how they need the shift change urgently.

“Mariana Rodriguez

123 Main Street

Anytown, CA 12345


September 1, 2018

Annette Lee Director, Human Resources 

Mama Mia’s Ristorante 

123 Business Rd. 

Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Lee,

Through this letter I would like to formally request a shift change for my waitress job at Mamma Mia’s Ristorante as I have an unavoidable scheduling conflict. As you know, I have worked at Mamma Mia’s evenings, and some weekends, and the night shift is becoming increasingly difficult for me to handle, along with my other familial responsibilities.

My hours at the office have been making it extremely difficult for me to take care of my two children under the age of five and I also have to pick my children up from school in the morning and take care of their daytime activities, which makes it incredibly difficult for me to balance the night shift with my other duties, and it has become impossible for me to maintain this demanding lifestyle.

I want you to know that I enjoy my experience at Mamma Mia’s which is why I do not want to let go of the opportunity and I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my shift change may cause you and the rest of the staff. 

Please let me know if I can help with the scheduling and transition that is required for this change, and I thank you for taking it into consideration.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. I hope we can figure out some way in which I can give my best to the company.


Mariana Rodriguez”


In this brief guide, we looked at a list of reasons to quit night shift, as well as some letter samples to quit the night shift that you can use if you are leaving the night shift.

There is a reason that the night shift is known as the graveyard shift, and this is because it can often lead to many problems for the people who work in it, even though they are doing something that allows so many of us to sleep better.

If you have ever gone to a fast food joint or a 24 hour supermarket, you will know that there are employees there who look like they are just bored or not interested, but imagine, while you are there out of need one night or because you were having a party and ran out of things, they are there every single night and they have to be there even though it may be a low paying jobs.

Even healthcare workers, nurses or doctors, may often experience this problem, and it may be even worse for them considering how high stakes their job is.

No matter who is working the night shift, it can be very hard, and if you have any more questions or comments about reasons to quit night shift, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Reasons to Quit Night Shift

Why is night shift so bad?

The night shift may be so bad because the people who work night shifts or rotating shifts often don’t sleep enough, and this type of long-term sleep deprivation is bad for health. 

Often, individuals that work a night shift may experience a shift in the body’s circadian rhythm, which may lead them to become extremely out of sync with the external environment and/or behavioral cycles.

Can I refuse to do night shifts?

Yes, you can refuse to do night shifts, but you will likely need a good reason for doing so, because employers may generally not take very well to an employee wanting to leave the night shift for no good reason.

When you get hired, you may not have gotten hired for any one shift or necessarily on a particular unit or floor which means that the employers are free to change conditions of employment as they see fit, however, most governments have provisions for the employees to be working in a situation that is not hazardous to their health, and if you can show that it is hurting you and your productivity, the employer may consider changing your shift.

Why are night shifts better?

Some people think night shifts are actually better because they may have greater autonomy a night, and there are also fewer people working with the person, which may be desirable to some people.

One may also find that a night shift is quieter and perhaps not quite as challenging as a day shift, for instance, there are definitely lesser people in fast food joints after 12 or 1 o’clock, which means there may be more time to relax.


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