If you or someone you know is working the night shift at work, you probably know what a toll the sleep change can take on the employee. Regardless of the hours you put in at work, getting an adequate amount of sleep is ALWAYS important. You deserve a great night’s sleep, and although it may seem impossible to get a great night’s sleep on your new schedule, here are a few simple night shift sleep tips courtesy of Best Mattress. These sleep tips and tricks will help you to get better sleep, no matter what hour of the day you hit the hay.
Schedule Out Your Days
Although it may be difficult to do this depending on the company that you work for, try to keep from working a number shifts in a row. Working even just four night shifts in a row can make it more difficult for you to recover and get the amount of sleep that is needed. If you can, work night shifts only a few days out of your work week. Make sure you schedule out a “normal” 9-5 shift or a day off in between days of a night shift. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can recover when you plan out your shifts like so!
Avoid Rotating Shifts
Speaking of planning out your shifts, avoid frequently rotating shifts when you can. It isn’t a good idea to work a day shift and then a night shift right in a row throughout the week. If you can’t avoid working a few rotating shifts, pick a schedule that rotates from a normal day shift to a night shift. It’s really difficult on the body if you start working a night shift first and then you rotate to a day shift. You’ll feel better when you have somewhat of a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week.
Avoid a Long Commute
Though this would still be recommended no matter what kind of shift you worked, it’s always a good idea to avoid a long commute when possible. Not only can long commutes add tons of necessary stress to your life, they can also take time away from much needed sleep! Pick a close location to work if you can. That way, you are less than 30 minutes away from finally calling it a night after you hit that clock out button.
Keep Your Workspace Brightly Lit
Your brain associates a dark room with sleep. If you don’t want to fight sleep throughout your work shift, keep your work space brightly lit. When working the night shift, it is best to expose yourself to bright light to improve functionality. There are even small light visors you can wear if it’s difficult to light your work space adequately during the evening.
Limit Caffeine (If You Can!)
Now, we aren’t telling you to ditch the coffee completely! But other than a cup or two right at the beginning of your shift, other caffeine throughout your shift could actually keep you up when you get home. Of course, caffeine affects everyone differently, and you’ll have to be the best judge of when to cut the caffeine. However, if you find that you can’t fall asleep upon coming home at all, it might be a good idea to try a few caffeine free days to see what it does to your sleep habits.
Avoid Bright Lighting on the Way Home
Depending on the hour of day (and the time of year..) that you head home, this may not even be an issue. Bright lights driving home can actually reactivate your brain, making it tough to fall asleep when you arrive at home. If you can’t avoid the sunlight, wear dark sunglasses and even a large hat to block the sun. You may feel like you look funny, but this will be absolutely worth it when you get home!
Also, although you really need a gallon of milk at home or a new box of cereal, try to avoid running any errand on the way home. You’ll thank yourself, later.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
Develop a sleep schedule and stick with it on the nights you work the night shift. If you vow to go to sleep at 4 AM and wake up at 1 PM, make sure you stick to your resolves. Humans are creatures of habit, and your body will appreciate having a routine when working the night shift.
Keep Your Phone Turned Off
Because you are on a different schedule than everyone else, your phone buzzing due to a text message or call may wake you up. Turn your phone off before you go to bed, or make use of your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature.
Use Blackout Blinds
Blackout blinds and curtains will keep the bright light out, so you can sleep peacefully! Sunlight coming in through the blinds actually awakens the mind and tells the body it’s time to get up, even if you eyes are closed.
Invest In a New Mattress
At the end of the day, you can’t expect to receive a good night’s sleep on a worn, old mattress. It may be time to check the tags on your mattress! If your mattress is more than 10 years old, consider replacing yours! Head to Best Mattress for some of the highest quality (and most affordable!) mattresses in your area! With locations in St. George and Las Vegas, we make it easy for everyone to find the mattress of their dreams.