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Sleep and Energy Guidelines for Night Shift Workers

October 24, 2018

For anyone who is a night shift worker—doctors, nurses, technicians, taxi drivers, police and security officers and others—listen up. Getting enough sleep is vital to doing your job and working the night shift can take its toll unless, you follow some simple guidelines. Here are a few to help maximize your energy level and maintain good sleeping habits.

Adjusting to sleeping during day could be one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever face. Just a few of the distractions you must endure trying to get some shut-eye include street noise, construction work, neighbors, and possibly annoying roommates or family members. But with a little effort you can overcome them.

Obviously the most comforting thing you look forward to after a grueling night shift is a cozy, comfortable bed. That would include the right pillow, sheets and bedding that are soft and relaxing, and an environment that encourages and supports sleep—in other words a Sleep Oasis®.

First, invest in blackout shades, ear plugs, and a sleep mask. Another helpful sleep inducer is aroma therapy oils, especially lavender. And don’t worry, finding the right bedding and other products is not difficult if you know where to look.

Sleep researchers believe that the concept of anchor sleep—getting the same four hours of sleep every day—is key. For instance, make sure you are in bed from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. every day. That’s your anchor sleep. Then you can add on sleep at either end of those hours.

Waking up with a hot shower and a cup of coffee usually works for most day or night workers. Together these two old standbys will get you up and out. But do avoid caffeine at least six or so hours before you hit the sack—so it doesn't mess with your sleep.

Finding workout time can be challenging. It’s not likely you will want to hit the gym after a night of hard work, so find time when the sun is out and too bright to sleep anyway and work in a workout.

Eating healthy will add to your energy level in a major way. Fruits and veggies should be on hand when you get home. Or if you have a grocery store that’s on the way home after your shift, stop in and stock up. Besides you want to avoid large meals before retiring, so opt for small, frequent meals and snacks high in protein throughout your work shift.

Putting healthy sleeping, eating, and exercise habits in place will give you the energy you need no matter what shift you work. Make it a priority and feel wonderful, day or night.

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