Sleep is an important part of our routine, and missing even a few hours of sleep can disrupt your work and daily activities. But what about people who work non-traditional hours like night shifts? These shifts might go against the body’s internal clocks or circadian rhythms for most people which might result in sleeping disorders such as Shift Work Sleep Disorder.
What is Shift Work Sleep Disorder?
Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) is a sleep disorder that commonly affects those who work non-traditional hours. SWSD causes difficulty in adjusting to a different sleep or wake schedule. This results in significant issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping when desired.
Do you work unusual hours that disrupts your sleep cycle? Here are some ways to make sure you get a proper sleep despite your working shifts!
1. Take 48 hours off after a series of shifts
After a series of night shifts, it is advisable to take at least 48 hours off so that your body can recover from the hours of sleepless nights. However, it isn’t advisable to work consecutive night shifts and take days off in between.
2. Build a regular sleep schedule
A regular sleep schedule is important for everyone. You should try to keep a regular sleep schedule, especially during the days when you don’t follow a set routine. This will help you reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
3. Avoid caffeine intake four hours before bedtime
It is important to avoid caffeine at least four hours before sleeping. In fact, avoid not only caffeine, but also alcohol, large meals, nicotine, and other similar substances that can potentially interfere with sleep should be avoided.
This is so that your sleep schedule is not interrupted and that you get enough sleep to function properly the next day.
4. A small nap before your shift
You should take a 30 to 60 minute nap right before your shift to avoid drowsiness while working your shift. Taking frequent naps will also help you to get enough sleep.
5. Use a blindfold while sleeping
While you sleep during the day, use a dark blindfold to cover your eyes. These blindfolds help to simulate a dark environment which helps you sleep better. You can also use heavy curtains to block sunlight, since sunlight coming into the room tells you brain that it’s daytime, thereby making it more difficult to fall asleep.
6. Avoid long commutes
When going back home from your shift, avoid commuting via long routes. By taking the long way home, you might just be reducing the time allocated for sleep resulting in further drowsiness the next day.
7. Avoid exercise before sleep
After a shift at work, try not to exercise before bedtime. If you do so, especially after a shift, it can cause difficulty falling asleep.
8. Light exposure
An appropriate amount of light exposure during the early part of the shift can improve your alertness during work. You can also use a light box for light therapy, which exposes your eyes to extremely bright but safe light. This will activate your “daytime clock” before you go to work.
Do you have trouble getting proper sleep? You may need a Professional Sleep Care Consultation
Not every shift worker suffers from SWSD, but if you are a shift worker experiencing difficulties with sleep, visit our medical team at Swacon International hospital. Our trained team of sleep care experts can help you if you are suffering from complications or any sleep related disorders.
Our full range of sleep care services include Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), and Polysomnography (PSG).
To book an appointment, please call us at +977-1-4478105 or email us at email@example.com.
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