Shift work can put a lot of pressure on your health and overall well being. Having to work when everyone else has retired home or to bed and lack adequate sleep can take a toll on one’s life. Making a few changes to your lifestyle and schedules can, however, help you get enough sleep hence wake up feeling rested. Here are a few tips to help restore normal circadian rhythm and sleep well.
- Have A Regular Schedule
As mentioned earlier, shift work can be tasking to your health. Create and stick to a specific sleep/wake schedule to avoid the normal circadian cycle. Be sure to abide by the timelines even during your days off.
- Don’t Rotate Shifts
Rotating shifts and extended overtimes will only make it hard to sleep well nor wake up feeling rested. If you cannot avoid the shifts, you can then try rotating it in a clockwise pattern. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, having the shifts start later than the last one will make it easier for the body to adapt.
Additional work and working overtime will only make it hard for your body to recover. That said, sleep experts recommend taking vacation time seriously and only accept additional shifts if you have to. Getting as much rest as you can, will help the body recover from the long shifts.
- Involve Your Family
Having to work for long hours, and especially deep into the night, can have a severe impact on your family life. Talking to your family and letting them understand the nature of your work, and how important it is for you to get enough sleep, will help avoid unnecessary interruptions. This way, family members will take care of visitors, phone calls, and anything else that might impact your sleep.
- Control Your Exposure to Light
Learn to let as much light as possible to your work space. Working in a well-lit space will help keep your circadian rhythm in check, as well as ensure you don’t start dozing off while at work. While working in a well-lit space is recommended, sleep experts recommend avoiding bright light once your shift is over. Putting on sunglasses and having a hat on is one of the best ways to prevent excess sunlight from interfering with your sleep pattern.
Be sure to keep the bedroom as dark and comfortable as possible. Get a new Sleep Outfitters mattress and Blackout curtains and darkening shades can help block sun rays from the room, hence create a calm environment for you to sleep well. Eliminating light-emitting devices from the bedroom might help too.
Waking up after a restful sleep in revitalizing. You, however, shouldn’t remain in the darkened room any longer, but instead, head outside to get a dose of sunshine. Soak up in the sun for a few minutes before getting a shower. This should help restock your supply of vitamin D, as well as boost your mental wellness.
- Lower Your Caffeine Intake
While caffeine can help improve your level of alertness, it would be advisable to only enjoy your coffee in the initial hours of your shift. According to research, caffeine can take up to 6 hours to leave the system. Taking more than one cup of coffee during your shift can, therefore, affect your sleep patterns significantly. That said, limiting your caffeine intake or giving it up, can help you fall asleep fast when you need it. Alcohol too, has almost similar effects; hence it shouldn’t be consumed a few hours to bedtime.
- Enjoy A Power Nap
Shift workers have to work during the hardest parts of the day. This alone can be tiring, one of the reasons napping is recommended. Taking a 20-minute nap between work will help restore your energy levels without affecting sleep patterns.