Night shifts can become the worst enemy of your sleep. But it shouldn't be so. And here's how
Adjust your sleep pattern prior to your shiftYou can gradually change your sleep habits to better suit your night shift. You can practice staying up late and sleeping into the morning. If your company has a sleep-friendly shift rotation and allows a rest day prior to the night shift, then it becomes easier.
Improve your physical fitnessA healthy body can better tolerate the stresses of a night shift and allows you to remain alert during your shift. This can reduce the drowsiness related injuries at the workplace.
power nap 2 hours before your shift. Even if you're working on an evening shift, this helps to keep you alert.
Change your eating habitsA light dinner makes you less drowsy. Also avoid sleep enhancing food like banana, oatmeal, almonds, cherries, dark chocolate and cheese. Having your meals at regular times of the day helps your biological clock keep its bearings.
Plan your social lifeKeep your work and sleep schedules in mind when planning your social life. If it can be helped, don't tire yourself before the shift. Ask your family members and friends not to disturb you while you rest during the day.
Get exposed to bright light during the shiftBright light that mimics the sunlight tells your body that it is not the time to have a nap. A poorly lit workplace on the other hand makes you feel more drowsy.
Use caffeine wiselyShift workers are more addicted to caffeine than daytime workers. Caffeine can counter the symptoms of sleep deprivation. But it isn't a substitute for good sleep. The effect of caffeine can take last a few hours so limit your caffeine use close to the end of the shift. Try to be caffeine-free during the last hour of work. Too much caffeine in your body can interfere with your sleep after the shift.
Avoid alcohol at all costsAlcohol can put you to sleep faster, but it disrupts your sleep cycles so you end up feeling drowsy after waking up.
Practice good sleep habitsSleeping during the day can be a challenge. So avoid exposing yourself to too much sunlight as it can reset your biological clock to daylight. Try to sleep at a regular bedtime throughout your night shifts to help your body adjust to a pattern.
Tweak your bedroomEven minor adjustments to your bedroom can help you enjoy a good daytime sleep. Make your bedroom dark and cover your windows with thick drapes. Use an eye patch if it helps. Ask other family members to keep the sound level outside to a minimum.