Working the night shift can be rough. But the reason why it’s so hard to drag yourself out of bed for work Saturday evening actually has less to do with FOMO (fear of missing out) and more to do with your body’s natural rhythm.
Sure, sleeping during the day, working while everybody else is hanging out, rearranging your schedule, it’s no fun.
But the real kicker is that night work goes against the organic sway of your circadian rhythm—the internal clock that regulates biological processes and needs such as hunger and sleep.
Don’t worry! If you’re on the night shift, there are some simple habits you can change to make adjusting to a new sleep schedule a smooth transition. Take a look and start incorporating these tips today!
It’s tempting to reach for an energy drink or your sixth cup of coffee mid-shift. But if you want any shot at falling asleep when you get home, you should avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine before going to bed. When the second half of your shift hits, hydrate with water instead.
(Don’t) Let the Sunshine in
Try to limit your exposure to light once your shift is over. Wear sunglasses on the way home, and avoid using your phone, TV, and other electronic devices for at least an hour before your bedtime.
These devices emit blue and blue-green light that has an especially disruptive effect on your circadian rhythm. Once you’re in bed, limit the light that enters your bedroom by hanging blackout shades or curtains. You could even consider wearing one of those swanky eye masks, too!
Stay Quiet & Keep Cool
Keep all electronic devices off. Limit ambient noise, and if it helps, pop-in your headphones and listen to a calming playlist or meditation while you drift off. If you live with other people, make sure to communicate how your new schedule means “quiet hours” during specific times of the day.
Low temperatures facilitate good sleep, so identify the coolest rooms in your home and set your bed up there. Purchase bedding that’s breathable so you won’t be kicking the covers off every five minutes. Avoid memory foam mattresses, which can elevate your body temperature. Choose a mattress that can regulate your body temperature, like those made from natural materials such as wool and natural latex, instead.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, focus on pleasurable, relaxing thoughts, and try to put your worries to bed, too. Imagine yourself walking through your favorite park, laying on the beach, or visiting someone you love. Visualize a space that’s relaxing, safe, and comfortable.
Stay on Schedule
If at all possible, avoid frequent schedule changes. It can take several days for your circadian rhythm to adjust to the late shift. If you switch back to working days, your circadian rhythm will have to readjust yet again, wreaking havoc on your sleep cycle. Eventually, your body will go on strike! Talk to your manager about the possibility of maintaining a regular schedule so that your circadian rhythm can align with a steady work routine.
Make Healthy Choices
A diet based primarily around fruits, nuts, and vegetables will give you the energy you need to make it through the late shift, leading you to a good sleep after you clock out.
Including regular physical activity in your daily routine will also keep you healthy and energized while allowing you to sleep better. Are you able to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine? Here’s a simple hack: Walk or ride your bike to work instead of driving your car!
Just Say No. (If you can.)
Sure, there are ways to help your body cope with the graveyard shift. But no matter how much sleep you get during the day, it’s always best to avoid working the night shift if possible.
Humans have evolved to be active during the day and sleep at night, so you might pay a cost for adjusting to a nocturnal schedule. But if you have to do it, do right by your body, so you can wake up healthy & refreshed, no matter what time it is.
You manage your sleep schedule; we’ll handle the rest! Deal? Sleeping on a natural, luxury mattress will help ease your sleepless days, too. Visit a Sleep365 store near you to experience the difference a natural or organic mattress can make on the quality of your sleep.