In the United States alone, almost 15 million people work night shifts full time. Among these people, some also work rotational shifts, late evening shifts or other similar irregular schedules. More than that, nearly 19 percent of adult workers find themselves in the office for more than 48 hours each week, while seven percent of those are there at least 60 hours.
Working night shift is common but it can pose various health issues. According to the National Sleep Foundation, risks associated with night shifts include heart disease, metabolic problems, obesity, gastrointestinal issues and even certain types of cancer. Even so, for some people, working night shift is unavoidable, and those who take on these shifts should take care to protect their health when they can. One of the most prominent and important ways to do this is to manage your sleeping patterns.
How to Get Better Sleep After Night Shift
No matter what time it is that you catch some Z’s, adults need at least seven to nine hours of it per night in order to be at their best. When working at night, you’ll need to find better ways to manage your sleep during the day. Because of noise, light and temperature, sleeping during the day can be difficult, but there are some steps you can take to encourage your body to experience restful sleep.
– DEDICATE A DETERMINED BLOCK OF TIME TO SLEEP DURING THE DAY. By choosing a specific period of time to sleep, you can maintain something of a normal sleep schedule working night shifts. It is best to set your sleep time for as soon as you can when you get home. If you delay your sleep for too long, you run the risk of waking up even more, which may make it difficult to fall asleep.
– HAVE A SNACK. Before you go to sleep, have some water and a light snack in order to avoid hunger pangs waking you up.
– PRACTICE GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE. Sleep hygiene encompasses the practices that a person completes or doesn’t complete before going to bed. This includes all of the usuals that apply to even those who sleep at night: not using your phone before you sleep and avoid any activities that typically wake you up.
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– AVOID ANY ALCOHOLIC DRINKS BEFORE BED. Even though people drink “nightcaps” to help them fall asleep at night, alcohol can ultimately disrupt your sleep and diminish its quality and also make it difficult to reach that deep stage of sleep that will leave you feeling the most rested.
– AVOID SMOKING BEFORE YOU SLEEP. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it could wake you up and make it difficult to fall asleep.
– SLEEP IN THE RIGHT SETTING. Ensure that your room is primed for good sleep by blocking out sunlight and making it as dark as possible. Wear earplugs if there is too much noise for you to sleep, and keep an electric fan running in order to not only neutralize the sounds but provide a cooler environment.
By browsing the above steps, you’ll learn how to get better sleep after a night shift and can begin incorporating them into your routine after work.