All you’ve been hearing lately is how bad working nights can be for your health, social life and family life. They fail to mention how rewarding, exciting and pleasurable working night shifts can be. However, it is easy to slip out of routine and lose hours of sleep which can be detrimental to your health. So we’ve answered the three most popular questions night workers have asked when it comes to keeping a good bedtime routine and a healthy lifestyle.
SHOULD I NAP DURING A NIGHT SHIFT?
Some graveyard shift workers will say that napping during your night shift will affect the quality of your daytime sleep and interrupt routine. This causes night working nap king and queens to laugh in their faces as they swear by the ‘power nap’ to get them through their shift. Studies have shown that a 10-20 minute nap during a night shift can be incredibly beneficial for productivity and alertness.
Power naps lasting 90 minutes are the best as this allows your body to complete an entire sleep cycle but let's be honest, who has time for a 90-minute nap on the job?
Whether it’s the harsh lights of the hospital ward or colleagues disrupting your much-needed power snoozes, it can be hard to squeeze them into your shift leaving you feeling groggy and exhausted.
Using a Nap Tent can block out those harsh lights and create your own private oasis when you need to catch some Zzzz in the office.
WILL I GET SHIFT WORK SLEEP DISORDER?
First of all, what the heck is Shift Work Sleep Disorder? It’s a disorder that affects people who work outside of the normal 9-5 shift. SWSD causes difficulties in sleeping and adjusting to a schedule that our bodies are not accustomed to.
It’s a bit like being permanently jet-lagged.
However, just because you work at night, does not mean you will experience SWSD. Creating a relaxing bedroom environment is key to helping you unwind. Prepare your bedroom just as you would during the night. Light candles, burn oils, put on soothing music, take a hot bubble bath and block out as much daylight as possible. Bed tents are designed specifically to keep bright lights out and create an ambiance of peace and tranquility.
With the recommended amount of sleep (8 hours), a healthy diet, and regular exercise, graveyard workers can avoid experiencing SWSD.
HOW CAN I GET HIGH-QUALITY SLEEP DURING THE DAY?
Yes, it’s true when they say that we are programmed to feel sleepy and less alert at night time thanks to our lovely sleeping hormone melatonin, and that light exposure can give your internal body clock the cue to be awake and alert. Because of this, daytime sleep can be lighter, shorter and more likely to be disrupted.
Experts at Medical News Today have some key suggestions to help you get those consistent 7-9 hours of sleep without disturbing your sleep cycles. They advise night workers to:
- Go to bed straight after arriving home after work
- Eat and drink something before going to bed
- Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, and smoking
- Notify family and friends of your sleep schedule so they don’t disturb you
- Switch off your phone
- Use earplugs to block out daytime noise
- Block out as much sunlight as possible