How to Work Night Shift and Stay Healthy
We’ve all felt the call of our pillows after a late-night party or an all-night cram session for an upcoming exam, but with a couple naps that can usually be remedied. What do you do when you get put on shift work? If you work night shifts and are always tired, eLuxury can help with incredibly comfortable and luxurious mattresses and accessories. Just follow these great tips on how to work night shift and stay healthy.
I Sleep, So Why Am I Always So Tired?
You work a graveyard shift from 11pm-7am and are in bed for at least 8 hours, but you still feel like you’re dragging and barely able to stay awake. One issue may be that you are not getting quality sleep.
Another significant factor is that you are battling your natural circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the link between your body and nature that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. When it’s dark, your body naturally wants to sleep, so a night shift sleep schedule can throw things off-kilter.
16 Tips for How to Work Nights and Stay Healthy
Shift work can not only affect your short term sleep habits and overall health, inadequate sleep can also have serious long term health effects like heart disease and obesity. In fact, the consequences can be so detrimental that it is a named condition known as Shift Work Disorder or Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to enhance your sleep time and ensure that it is rejuvenating and restorative.
- Think ahead: Transition your sleep-wake times by a couple hours at least a couple of weeks before you start shift work. (Stay up later, sleep in longer)
- Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine that begins as soon as you get home. Regular habits like listening to music, taking a warm bath, or meditating while having a cup of tea can signal your body that rest is in its near future.
- Do not try to stay awake for a few hours and then sleep until it is time to leave for work. You need to rethink your wake/sleep cycle.
- Try to get a 15-20 minute nap, 2-3 hours before it’s time for work.
- Make sure your work area is well-lit to keep you alert.
- Do mundane tasks at the beginning of your shift, and more stimulating work later on.
- Keep an eating schedule, having “lunch” about midway through your shift.
- Power nap on breaks if you can. 10 minutes can be helpful.
- Limit caffeine intake in the back half of your shift.
- If it is daylight when you drive home, wear dark glasses to lessen the effect of the sun on your circadian rhythms.
- Keep the room as quiet, dark, and cool as possible. Use soundproofing in the walls if necessary. Put up black-out curtains or sleep in a basement bedroom. Maintain a cool temperature with fans or air conditioning.
- Let others in the household know what your schedule is and ask them to be respectful and quiet. Do not be afraid to let neighbors know as well, so they can limit things like mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower for your awake hours.
- Limit your use of devices like phones and computers. The blue light can disrupt your brain activity and make sleep difficult or disrupted.
- If you are still having trouble with sleep, keep a sleep journal. It may be able to help you pinpoint the disrupting condition.
- Make sure that your bedding is comfortable, including your mattress, pillows, sheets, and comforters. The better your bedding, the better you will sleep.
- Always try to get adequate daily exercise and adopt a healthy way of eating.
Learn How To Adjust Your Sleep for Odd Work Schedules
These are just a few ideas that can help you work a night shift and still stay healthy. Talk to your co-workers and ask how they make sure they get adequate sleep, or ask your doctor for tips on a night shift sleep schedule. Invest in your bedroom so you sleep like a king or queen, and you can wake feeling royally rested.