Do you work irregular hours (or overnight shifts) and find yourself struggling to maintain a sleep schedule? You are not alone. There are many people who don’t work the typical 9-5 hours, therefore they do not always sleep at the same time every night. Sleep is essential for you to be at your best, especially at work, so it is important to make the most of the sleep you can get, no matter what time of day it is.
While it may seem easier said than done, there are ways to help you sleep better even if you are working an irregular schedule. Here are a few tips to make the most of your sleep if you are a shift worker.
- Limit Caffeine
One cup of coffee is okay at the start of your shift, and maybe a small cup every 1-2 hours, just to keep you awake during your shift but try to avoid caffeine at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
- Create the perfect sleeping environment
If you need to sleep during the day, keep your bedroom or designated sleeping area as dark as possible (blackout curtains would work best for this) and keep the temperature of the room on the cooler side.
- Limit Distractions
Keep your phone and other devices on silent and ask other members of your household not to disturb you while you are sleeping unless it is an emergency.
- Follow a routine
Make sure you follow the same bedtime routine when going to sleep, even if it is the daytime or your schedule is inconsistent. This will help your body to wind down and prepare for sleep.
- Set boundaries
If at all possible, try to place limits on the amount of overnight shifts you take on, as the irregular schedule can be hard on your body. If this cannot be avoided, this is where having a routine will be extremely important. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing multiple episodes of insomnia or other sleeping problems.