We all pulled an all-nighter back in college for a big final or project. Remember how you felt the next day? You most likely felt pretty awful and crashed to sleep right after the exam. That’s because our bodies aren’t used to a major shift in our sleep cycle like that. For some Americans, working late shifts or entire night shifts are part of their job. Working a night shift can disrupt your internal clock that dictates when you’re sleeping, eating and other biological processes.
Getting in the right amount of sleep is one of the trickiest aspects of working a night shift. It’s important to get in at least eight hours of sleep- this will restore your health and make you function better throughout the day. Just think about those days where you got little to no sleep. You probably didn’t perform your best that day, did you?. You need to be alert during your shift and although caffeine and energy drinks seem like the go-to fix of choice to keep your engine running, those are only temporary fixes. If you drink caffeine such as a coffee with sugar, you’ll crash. If you drink a giant energy drink, you will definitely crash. So, avoid the temporary fixes and get the real deal in-actual sleep.
Trying to sleep when it’s daylight outside can be a difficult task. The key is to make yourself think it’s night time, this will trick your body into sleep. This will also block out any potential disturbances like sunlight and noise. In order to make your room ready for long hours of shut eye, close your blinds, make your room as dark as possible, wear a sleep mask if you have to. Block out noise with ear buds and turn your phone on silent. Advise everyone in your house not to disturb you. Breaking up your sleep cycles will help ensure you get maximum sleep and get to do accomplish chores and other tasks you have to do in the day. Sleep a good five hours right when you get home from work, then sleep another two to three before your shift starts.
It’s easy to pick up bad eating habits during night shifts. The vending machines and late fast food won’t provide you with nourishing food. Instead, pack a healthy lunch for work to avoid the temptation of vending food. Keep in mind: you must also be hydrated throughout the night! Drink plenty of water to avoid the onset of cramps and headaches caused by dehydration.
Exercise and bright lights are proven to boost alertness. Get a good work out in before you go to work. Avoid working about before you go to bed because this will disrupt your sleeping cycle. Turn on the lights at your work. This will prevent you from dozing off. Utilize all these tips and you’ll be able to survive the night shifts without putting your health at risk.