"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Tips and tricks for higher sleep for night shift staff

October 11, 2023 – It’s now common practice within the United States to go to work after sunset, but what does that mean for the health of night shift staff?

The US Census Bureau estimates that 11.4% to 14% of American staff perform their jobs on a “non-standard schedule,” meaning they don’t work in the course of the day and should not have predictable work hours.

The National Institutes of Health defines night shift work as employment that takes place while nearly all of the population is sleeping and disrupts the natural functioning of the body circadian rhythm – his natural internal clock.

“Circadian rhythms play an important role in regulating our sleep patterns,” he said Shelby Harris, PsyDclinical associate professor of neurology and psychiatry/behavioral sciences on the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis. “It follows a 24-hour cycle and is heavily influenced by exposure to light and darkness. For example, when we are exposed to natural light in the morning, it sends signals to our body that it is time to wake up, be alert and start producing our day in the evening Melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy at night and helps us prepare for sleep. Disruptions to our circadian rhythms, such as those that occur during night shift work, can lead to sleep problems, mood swings, sleepiness and slower cognitive processing.”

Chinese researchers report that night shift staff are at higher risk of heart attack and diabetes. Part of this has to do with poor nutrition. A recent one Australian study found that shift staff with various work schedules are at higher risk of diabetes because they have a tendency to eat more incessantly and snack more incessantly. In addition, this kind of disturbed calm can lead to finish disruption Sleep disorders during shift workin accordance with the Henry Ford Health System.

What is one of the best solution to take care of this as an evening shift employee? Intelligent time management is paramount.

“The most important action you can take is to schedule enough hours of sleep,” which implies 7 to eight hours of uninterrupted rest, he said Emerson M. Wickwire, PhDProfessor and Department Head of Sleep Medicine on the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The use of daylight can be essential. Study review This is what Korean researchers discovered light therapy has been essentially the most effective way for shift staff to sleep longer as it could possibly adjust the body's circadian phase. A Lightbox might be helpful. “If you wake up while it's still light, expose yourself to sunlight as soon as possible to signal your body that it's time to be awake,” Harris said. “Open your curtains or take a walk outside. If it's dark when you wake up, use a sunrise alarm clock – it's designed to mimic the natural sunrise. This exposure to light helps regulate your circadian rhythm.” And if you go to bed in daylight, blackout curtains and a sleep mask can be helpful.

Day workers also need good sleep planning – we all have times when we can't sleep through the night but still need to function well. The good news is that most shift workers are committed to overcoming their sleep problems – and have great advice for doing so. Read on to learn these workers' tips for getting maximum sleep around the clock.

Make yourself feel tired

Josh Hinton, a U.S. merchant seaman, said he used to work as a night cook on a ship. If you have an unusual sleep pattern, it's important to give in to fatigue and be patient, he advised.

“I got up at 9 p.m. and worked until 10 a.m. It takes about two weeks to fully adjust your sleep schedule. It's impossible to force it – your body won't switch immediately. Instead, take advantage of tiredness. As the days go by, you will sleep more during the day and less at night.”

Use reverse sleep hygiene

Hinton followed common-sense advice about preparing for sleep, but simply mixed up the time frame. Instead of stopping consuming caffeine midday to get a good night's sleep, “drink coffee within the evening and stop around midnight,” Hinton suggested.

Try the dark glasses trick

“When you get off work, wear really dark sunglasses,” recommends Valerie Sinady, night nurse, certified health coach and business health and wellness consultant. “Darkness serves as a signal to fall asleep. Welding goggles are very dark and really inexpensive, with options under $10.”

Take a nap strategically

“Incorporate naps into your day to stop sleep deficits in case you can't consistently get a full night's sleep,” recommends Carlos da Silva, a physician assistant who has experience working nights and long shifts. “I know some night shift workers who split their sleep by sleeping for a few hours right after they get home and then taking a long nap in the evening before their next shift. Even a shorter nap just before your shift can keep you awake and still allow you to fall asleep when you get home.”

(Bonus tip: Need to stay up later than usual? Take a “coffee nap.” A study from the University of South Australia found that drinking 200 milligrams of caffeine and then sleeping for half an hour increased alertness within 45 minutes of waking.)

Keep regular meal times

Debbie Gerken, a certified neonatal intensive care unit nurse, certified pediatric gentle sleep trainer and infant night nurse, found that meal consistency helped her body better adjust to sleep after night shifts.

“Eat breakfast when you get home from work,” she said. “This will help keep your digestive patterns the identical as on days off” – meaning you won't be woken up by hunger pangs.

According to the Sleep Foundationa number of foods can promote sleep.

These include malted milk (which has been shown to stop sleep disorders, possibly due to its vitamin B and D content), fatty fish (which contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can regulate serotonin levels and promote sleep), tart cherries (which contain melatonin to regulate circadian rhythms) and kiwi (which contain antioxidants to facilitate sleep).

Create the right sleeping environment

Amy Karim, an MRI technician and blogger who often works night shifts, has perfected her setup: “A dark, quiet, and cool room is crucial. I use earplugs and a white noise machine.”

Karim also pays a lot of attention to her sleep preparation. “As soon as I get home, I’m going straight to bed – no TV to stimulate my brain,” she said. “I save melatonin for when I'm desperate and can't sleep. I take less than 1 milligram because.” it was shown that doses over 0.3 milligrams can actually disrupt sleep.”

And timing is everything. “Try steadily changing your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking 15 to half-hour earlier every day until you reach your required sleep and wake times,” Harris suggested. “Also, create a relaxing bedtime routine that includes calming activities like reading, deep breathing, and meditation.”

Most importantly, seek advice if vital to get your sleep problem under control. If you will have problems with the standard or quantity of your sleep several times per week, consult with your doctor.