People working on night shift faces huge challenges in their sleeping pattern because of no set routine. Night shift worker those are deprived of sleep often gets irritated or depressed due to incomplete sleep. Their ability to focus or memorize is badly affected. Their social life also gets affected. Long term night shift workers also face health problems like heart disease, metabolic syndromes, etc.
The body finds it difficult to adjust or to anticipate when to produce transmitters and neurochemicals for sleep, digestion, and functioning of the body because, during week days, you are sleeping at day time and working at night while on weekends you are sleeping at night and awake during day time. The body finds it complex to understand this rotating routine.
Regular sleep of eight hours is crucial for a healthy body. But if the sleeping pattern is irregular, the body does not get time to repair itself. Exposure to light in day time helps in making a rhythm of work pattern. The absence of bright light for night shift workers often leads them to feel drowsy during work.
Tips to manage working in night shift
Try to take a long nap of at least three hours before going to the night shift so as to reduce sleep debt.
Following a regular sleeping pattern during weekends is important. Sleeping the same way as of weekdays, ensures the body temperature rhythm gets adjusted to the routine.
The workplace should be lighted brightly so that it promotes alertness. Bright light helps the body’s internal clock to adjust.
Try to work in the same shift for at least a few weeks continuously and avoid rotating of shift frequently. During night time you can have a proper meal in between your shift.
A small nap of 30 to 40 minutes is more effective than coffee in night shift.
Drinking a cup of coffee or tea in the first half of your shift will help you to concentrate. But consuming coffee or tea in the second half of the shift is not recommended at all.
Exercise before going to work will make you more awake and alert during your working hours. The body temperature decreases gradually after work which will help you in falling asleep.
Avoid sunlight while coming back to your home by wearing dark sunglasses, this will help you to continue in being sleepy mode.
Keep your phone in silent mode so that your sleep does not get disturbed.
Sunlight is a potent stimulator. Thus, to avoid sunlight coming into your room you can use heavy dark color curtains to block sunlight.
While returning from work it will be better if you use public transport, carpooling or cabs so that you do not drive yourself.
Shift work often leads to shift work sleeping disorder. By using some of these suggestions, one can strengthen their sleeping system for quality sleep. However, it is also important to have a good night sleep.