Night Shift Sleeping Tips
Updated: May 31
Night Shift Sleeping Tips
I've worked night shifts. I know the pains of adjusting my sleep cycle on and off work times. There is a link between shift work, long working hours and several health issues. The suppression of melatonin may play a role the body’s ability to repair DNA damage from normal cellular processes. There is an increased risk of metabolic problems, heart disease,
gastrointestinal difficulties, obesity, and certain cancers. It's unfortunate that the businesses that expect employees to alter their lifestyle, do not educate their employees of the following things they can do. I wish I had been given this information when I battling lack of sleep. So please take time to read it.
The body is controlled by an internal body clock, or circadian pacemaker, located the hypothalamus in the brain. Circadian rhythms regulate behavioral and physiological processes in the body, including alertness, sleep, temperature control, and hormone production. They are significantly influenced by the natural light and dark cycles. They run in 24-hour cycles. At night, the circadian pacemaker releases the sleep hormone melatonin from the pineal gland, which causes the body to feel less alert and raises the desire to sleep.
Working at night leads to poorer quality daytime sleep, due to inability to block light, excess noise, and unbearable temperature.
Experiment with these tips to make the environment more favorable for sleep.
Do not delay going to bed, it will make you the more awake.
Avoid activities that make you feel more alert, until the hours before your next shift.
Set aside 7–9 hours to dedicate to sleep after a night shift.
Eat and drink before you go to bed, hunger or thirst may wake you up.
Alcohol diminishes sleep quality and disturbs the deep stages of sleep, leaving you unrefreshed the next day.
Nicotine is a stimulant prevents getting to sleep. Try and quit smoking.
Make sure your room is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Use earplugs to block out noise and blackout curtains and/or sleep mask to prevent daylight from bothering you. Electric fans can be useful to keep air circulating, during warmer months and provide background noise.
Notify friends and family of your shifts so that they do not disturb you.
Read the following post to learn about foods that promote sleep.
Plan meals to help people stay alert during working hours and be more relaxed for sleep.
Eat little and often:
Frequent light meals or healthy snacks help avoid the drowsiness associated with heavy meals.
Choose easy-to-digest foods:
For example, bread, rice, pasta, salad, milk products, fruits, and vegetables.
Avoid foods difficult to digest:
For example, fried, spicy, and processed meals.
Steer clear of sugary foods:
While they provide a short-term energy boost, an energy dip quickly follows.
Snack on fruits and vegetables:
Sugars from these foods are converted slowly into energy and an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Keep hydrated: when working to promote physical and mental performance. Don't have too many fluids bed. This will create another interruption your sleep.
Naps combat fatigue, A 20 to 40 minute nap may be vital for maintaining alertness and remaining vigilant.
Caffeine is a stimulant. and can cause gastrointestinal upsets and muscle shakes. Avoid caffeine approximately 6 hours before bedtime to ensure a better sleep.
Trick” the body into an alert state
Light therapy boxes are available, which stimulates the day light to supplement your loss of required sunlight. Intermittent exposure to bright light is almost as effective as continual exposure. Night-shift workers who were exposed to bright light during their shift and wore sunglasses on the way home to suppress light, were able to sleep for longer after their shift than people who received no bright light exposure.
Increase bright light exposure during your shift:
This could be regular overhead lights, a bright desk lamp, or a light therapy box.
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The supplement Melatonin is not the same as the melatonin received from the sun. The light therapy box is the preferred method for receiving melatonin.
Blue light signals to the brain that it is daytime, resulting in poor sleep quality.
Avoid blue light emitted from digital devices, such as a smartphone, tablet, or television, before bed after a night shift. Or use blue light blocking glasses to block the blue light emitted from the devices.
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Decreasing light exposure after your shift:
Wear sunglasses on your journey home, this also prevent the blue led streets lights from bothering you.
Turn the WIFI off. This will decrease noises from electronic equipment. It will also reduce electromagnet exposure.
Experiment with the above concepts to ensure the right amount of sleep to function properly during your night.