Better Sleep Tips For Night Shift Workers

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) researchers say that 15 million people work the night shift. Of these, 5-10 percent of these people suffer from one or the other type of sleep disorder that decreases the quality of their lifestyle.

Sleep disorders affect various factors such as productivity, alertness and also fitness. Some of the most common problems faced by the employees working the night shift are Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, lethargy, tiredness, etc.


Working night shifts mean that you must catch up on sleep during the day. This is unnatural according to the body’s biological clock. The body is used to a particular biological schedule involving eating, sleeping, etc. A frequent change in the biological clock of the body can lead to other side effects such as excessive sleepiness during the day. Insomnia could decrease your sleep quality and quantity. Ultimately this could lead to depression and metabolic issues and cardiac problems which are dangerous in the long run. Over a period of time, one may end up relying on drugs, medication, and alcohol. When night shifts are inevitable, there are certain things that can be followed to get the required sleep.

Tips For Better Sleep:

Here are some of the things that can help you get the required amount of sleep when you are working the night shift. These tips will definitely help you stay healthy and fit in the long run.

1. Avoid Rotational Shifts: The first and foremost factor of importance is to not take up rotational shifts as this proves hazardous to health. If you are working the day shift, do so for weeks together. If you are working the night shift, do so for long periods of time. This is because the body takes time to get accustomed to the new sleep cycle. If you keep changing your sleeping hours frequently, it sends mixed signals to the brain and your body will not know how to respond to it. Try to maintain the same consistent schedule for as long as possible.

2. Manage Sleep Patterns: Night shifts are for fixed hours. Similarly, you must try to maintain fixed hours for sleep during the day. Try to fall asleep at the same time every day so that over a period of a few days, your body can adjust to the new cycle. Try not to take calls or run errands during these hours. Initially, falling asleep at that hour may seem difficult but one must not indulge in other activities.

3. Control Light Exposure: This process works two ways: Mimicking the day during the night shift and mimicking the night during day time sleeping. When you are working the night shift, ensure that your working environment is well lit and ambient. Similarly, when you sleep during the day time, make the bedroom dark by drawing the blinds. Also, ensure that the room is noise free so that you have no trouble falling asleep. By controlling light exposure, you are making it easy for your body to adjust to the new routine of the biological clock during the night shift hours. This way, you will find it easier to get your required quality and quantity of sleep.

4. Diet Habits: During the beginning of your shift, have a meal that is as good as breakfast. Consume a good deal of carbohydrates and proteins. This gives you a power boost and helps you stay awake. On the other hand, avoid sweets and oily foods as they overwork your metabolism rate and tend to make you sleepy and drowsy. Try to avoid junk food as much as possible. Try to chew a non-sugary gum, as it helps you stay awake. On the contrary, it is important to have a full tummy before bed so that you don't wake up with hunger pangs. Consume wholesome food as dinner. Try not to consume too much water before bed, else you will be waking up for frequent bathroom trips.

5. Use Caffeine to your advantage: It is a widely believed misconception that drinking a cup of strong coffee can keep you awake for long periods of time. On the other hand, drinking a small quantity of caffeine, say, a quarter cup of coffee each hour helps you stay awake for longer periods of time. This helps you stay alert at work. It is important to know that caffeine is not supposed to be consumed before going to bed. It actually prevents you from falling asleep. Caffeine increases metabolism and increases brain activity, which work against the principle of falling asleep.

6. Smoking and Alcohol: It is very important to keep in mind that one must never rely on these to fall asleep. It is dangerous to our health. Try to stay away from drinks and drugs during bedtime. Under extreme circumstances, do consult a sleep specialist who can help you solve your sleep related issues.

7. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: When you go to bed during the day time, there are some things that you can do to fall asleep quicker and help you get quality sleep:

- Keep the room noise-free and silent so that you don’t have trouble falling asleep.Turn off any alarms that may interfere with your sleep time.
- Draw the blinds to make the room dark enough and comfortable to sleep.
- If listening to music helps, listen to soft music that doesn’t invade your sleep.
- Maintain the room temperature so that it is comfortable and you do not have to wake up to adjust it later.
- Do not try falling asleep on an empty stomach as you will be awakened soon due to hunger pangs.
- Use the best mattress so that you can sleep in a comfortable position throughout your sleep.
- Maintain the same sleep-wake cycle on a daily basis.


By complying with the above tips, you will realise that it is easy to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consistency is the key to a restful and sound sleep when working night shifts.

Following these steps not only help you get the required amount of sleep but also help you stay stress-free and healthy for longer periods of time. There are no reasons to crib, working the night shift. As Edgar Allan Poe rightly said, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
 
 
< Prev   Next >
 
 

Quotation

"Take care, don't fight, and remember: if you do not choose to lead, you will forever be led by others. Find what scares you, and do it. And you can make a difference, if you choose to do so."

J. Michael Straczynski
 

Copyright 2019 AmO: Life Beauty Without Limits....