Doctors, fire-fighters, truck drivers, nurses, traffic controllers, and other essential workers have it hard because they have to work in shifts. For most of them, it can be difficult to cope worth the frequent changes, especially when it comes to sleeping patterns.
In this article, we look at how working shifts can affect an individual’s sleeping patterns and provide you with solutions that can help you develop good sleeping habits for good quality and quantity of sleep.
First, here are some few ways night shifts can affect individuals
Has a major effect on your physical health.
Shit working can cause chronic illnesses like obesity, metabolic issues, ulcers, hypersomnia, insomnia, weight gain issues, and heart issues. This is because changing work shifts very often leads to irregular sleeping patterns.
If you don’t get enough sleep, changes in appetite and metabolism can lead to extreme weight changes. Night shifts interfere with leptin production, which is important in the regulation of blood sugar, body weight, and insulin.
Poor mental health.
Shifts can also increase your risk of developing mental health issues. Anxiety, stress and depression are the first signs of mental issues, especially for shift workers. Disruption of your body’s internal clock which helps regulate body chemicals and processes can lead to major stress.
Effects on daily performance.
Shift workers often experience major repercussions because they lack proper sleep. With lower cognitive abilities and memory impairment, learning can be difficult. Due to these reasons, your productivity and performance are lowered greatly.
Because you are working against your biological clock, you may find yourself dossing off during day shifts. For that reason, shift work is very risky for medical operators, police work, firefighters, cleaning staff, factory workers among others.
These professionals involved heavy machine and equipment operation which can be a little difficult when you lack the best cognitive abilities. The tasks performed by the shift workers can pose major risks to their lives.
How to deal with work shifts and poor sleep
Always transition slowly.
You should use the first couple of days of your new shit to adjust your sleeping habits. The easiest way to do this is by using spare time to transitions slowly from night to day shift and vice versa so you can have enough time for adjustment.
Create a timetable that helps you manage time properly to avoid any form of disruptions during your adjustment/transitioning period. Ensuring you have plenty of rest on the weekend and assuming the next sleeping pattern is the best way to transition from your day and night shifts. To make it easier, create a schedule that helps keep your sleeping patterns on track.
Try sound deadening or adjusting the white noise.
Day and night environments are quite different in terms of sleep. Day has much more noise because most people are active during that time while night time is very calm and quiet. For many, it is difficult to fall asleep during the day because of the noise.
Try using white noise to eliminate any noise from outside and help you feel calm and relaxed so you can fall asleep during the day.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants.
Stimulants are meant to keep you awake and active, which is why it is a bad idea to take them daily, especially if you work on shifts. They can have 6 hour lasting effect and mess with anyone’s ability to fall and stay asleep easily.
Because they increase your blood sugar and energy levels, you stay awake for longer and this can have an effect on your performance at work in the long run.
Buy good drapes and beddings
An ideal sleeping environment is one with minimal light exposure. This can be a little difficult during the day. You need to invest in blackout curtains that keep away any daylight when you are working on the night shift. Dark curtains absorb all the light from outside, creating a sleep-friendly environment for you. Try eye masks to keep the light away from your eyes when you are trying to sleep.
A good mattress can also help you get quality sleep which is much needed for normal function, regardless of the time of day. Get a high-quality mattress from Sleep Number that offers you long term comfort and durability.
Get a thermostat
Sleeping during day time is close to impossible when you live in a humid environment. The hot temperatures keep you awake regardless of the time of day. Thermostats help regulate the temperature in the room, making it ideal for sleep. According to specialists, you need a temperature of about 677 or 68 degrees Fahrenheit to fall asleep.
Melatonin can help reset your natural internal clock
There are foods that contain tryptophan hormones which can be converted to melatonin to supplement your production and help you fall asleep faster.