I have, a couple of times. But that was a long time ago. Pretty much the cleaning shift at a 24-hour coffeeshop. I was there because they were expecting a large group on bus to be stopping sometime @3am, and I covered for a few weeks on the night the bus showed up. One of the regular cooks was a short little guy who did the majority of the cleaning. While he was barely passable for a cook he had no problem at all getting up in the hoodfan and degreasing it. It takes a certain type of person who is willing to work in closed spaces with cleaners and solvents.
Another time I ran a cafe that opened at 6am for breakfast and for a few months the graveyard shift from a local construction project would show up right as I opened for their after-shift beers. That seemed strange as I had just got up and was on my second or third cup of coffee as they were busy slamming down beers before going home to bed.
I did it in my 20's, 3 days a week, with the other 3 days 6 am to 3 pm. Having 2 different schedules screwed up my sleeping and eating, and I only lasted a few months. I might have lasted longer if I hadn't lived in the basement of a house with small (active) children. Sleep was seldom an option. Man was I happy when that ended!!
I did the overnight all summer. On the last month I was on days for 3 and nights for 2. That'll really mess you up. As horrible as it is, it's easier to do nights full time. I was lucky: some of us at the hotel had to do it for 8-12 months. I think chef knew I would quit if it were any longer than 3-4 months.
The graveyard shift is probably the hardest one of all, hours notwithstanding. I never had time to stop to catch my breath. I had to set up an elaborate salad bar for our 300+ employees, set up the breakfast line, set up pantry, do prep for the cafeteria's hot meals, strain the stocks, cook for the night staff, and squeeze case upon case of orange and grapefruit juices. All this while cooking for guests in room service, who pretty much had the entire regular menu available to them. No other shift demands so much heavy lifting and running around, and by the end of it all, I became too muscular for my taste!
I never did fit in with the graveyard "lifers". They are nice people, definitely different. It's like a bizarre underground society of people who work to a very different drum. The reason I didn't belong: I fought the night shift to keep my sanity; they embraced it. They were all quite pasty come to think of it....
When I was in school, I worked in a diner-type place.. we had a blast working the overnight, weekend shifts!! We would have the waitresses make milkshakes with rum in them... kept the managers guessing! The music was loud, the crowds were noisy and we were busy... like, 2000 covers from 9pm until 4am!! Sleep all through the next day and do it all over the next day. After a year, though, I was pretty well burned out. It was fun while it lasted.
I did it for less than a year as production supervisor at a small bread bakery. A friend I had hired said let's do the midnight thing. Bread will be ready for the customers when we walk out the door. I hated it. Every night I would put the key in the door and ask, How much longer, God? The owners used to stroll in and then keep me late in the morning for "production meetings" and then when I pointed out it was now 10 am, would ask me if the hours were a problem. I don't think I got more than three uninterrupted hours of sleep in those several months. It stinks going to bed at 6 pm when you have young kids. Never do it again.