Shift Work

Shift Work Disorder:

Shift workers are those who work nontraditional hours such as night shifts or rotating shifts. They may not get the same amount of sleep during the day, they may have problems adjusting to sleep schedule, feel less energetic and struggle with focusing.

Tips for Shift Workers to Resetting the Biological Clock:

• Light is the most powerful influence on the body’s circadian clock and it will negatively affect your ability to fall asleep. Therefore, after the end of your night shift, wear sunglasses if you are commuting home in bright sunlight. In contrast, once you wake up, go outside into the sun to cue your biological clock that it is time to be awake and alert.

• A darkened room signals your brain that it is time to sleep. So, keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Heavy curtains and eye masks can help. If you need to get up, use a small nightlight instead of turning on bright lights.

shift work

• Try to go to bed as soon as possible after your shift, ideally within two hours and allow enough time to unwind and relax.

• Use your bedroom only for sleeping. No paperwork, bills, unfolded laundry, TV, electronics, or pets.

• Eliminate noise with earplugs, a fan or a white noise machine. Turn off or unplug the phone. Install carpeting or sound-absorbing curtains, drapes, or shades.

• Keep your room well ventilated and the temperature on the cool side, ideally between 60 and 65.

• Ideally, avoid caffeine-containing beverages and food such as coffee, tea, sodas and chocolate at least six to eight hours before bedtime.

• Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full. Avoid eating two hours prior to bedtime.

Avoiding Shift Work Sleep Disorder

  Avoid consuming protein at bedtime, which may be harder to digest. Do not drink excessive fluids prior to bedtime to avoid having to get up to urinate.

•Try to maintain a consistent and regular sleep schedule on workdays and weekends. To help your body know when to be alert and when to sleep.

•Begin altering your sleep schedule few days in advance of a shift change. Postpone your bedtime and wake time by one to two hours to match the new planned shift.