Really interesting article! My career is in engineering. I’ve spent many years being on-call, somewhat frequently called in the middle of the night, but with typical hours.
Now I’m on a large capital project getting a chemical plant started up. I’m finally seeing what it is like to be a night shift worker from 5:30 PM — 5:00 AM for many days on end.
All of your observations about your experiment are true. It is difficult to do epic work at 3:30 AM. It’s hard to synchronize with the rest of the world or with the family. It leaves one feeling like they are in a completely separate world. The epicness difficulty goes up about a half-notch when you “swing shifts” every four, six, etc. days.
My experience has given me greater empathy and insight into how my fellow production line workers live working night shift. I’m sure you realize that your experiment is a way of life for tens of millions of shift workers in the US alone. There is a whole universe of “folks who work all night” out there, and I believe there is far too little attention or focus paid to the impact of this work.