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Preparing for Night Shift.
In our culture of hard work, long days, and 24-hour service.
It is no surprise that thousands of people are finding themselves facing work opportunities that demand night shifts. An irregular schedule can lead to fatigue, health issues, and frustration if not managed and prepared for.
So, it is important to manage your sleep schedule, food intake, and daily habits to ensure a safe and productive night shift.
Whether you are an;
- office administrator,
- truck driver,
- or medical professional, here are some ways to prepare for a night shift.
Change and manage your new sleep schedule.
Our bodies are not used to staying up all night, nor are we programmed to do so. As our melatonin levels increase at night which causes us to feel fatigue. And a ready willingness to sleep.
Night shift workers must work to change their sleep patterns. To help the body become used to working against its natural rhythm and keep sleep at bay during work.
The best tool in managing sleep patterns is creating strict sleeping guidelines. Such as heading to bed at a strict time that ensures at least 7-9 hours of sleep.
Although it may seem odd, at first, to come home after a night shift and drop into bed at 8:00am.
These habits help us stay focused and alert at night. And shift our sleeping schedule and our body’s hormone release and intake that helps with sleep and daily activity.
Eat mindfully and healthily.
Although it may not seem connected, our body’s food intake impacts the quality of our sleep and the energy in our day.
By planning meals and sticking to a strict eating schedule every day that corresponds to your night shift.
Your body will become used to its new food and energy habits, shift its metabolism, and increase alertness and energy throughout the night shift.
It is also important to avoid sugary, fatty foods and alcohol as they cause fatigue, may impact sleep and can lead to poor health circumstances down the line.
Of course, it is also important to always stay hydrated as a glass of water can actually stimulate your body’s metabolism.
And increase your energy, thereby working as like a cup of coffee.
Choose naps over coffee.
Although coffee may be your best friend in the morning, with a night shift our intake of coffee must change and can be impacted by your new eating schedules and sleep schedules.
While caffeine may impact your energy immediately after intake.
It can also create downward spirals of fatigue later on throughout your shift and can lead to accidental naps and drowsiness as your body crashes from caffeine.
Taking naps can actually boost your energy. Even naps as short as 20 minutes long have been proven to increase brain power and energy of workers who feel the need for some rest and relaxation midway throughout their day or night shift.
Many night shift workers find the need to take a nap during their lunch breaks or even in their cars before their shift as a way to decrease their need to sleep naturally at night.
Moving your body is beneficial not only to your health, metabolism and weight but also to your sleep.
Regular exercise will fight fatigue as your body becomes more healthy and fit and can combat stomach issues and sleep problems that will occur with a change in sleep schedule.
Turn off the light!
It is important to note the effect that light has on our eyes and brains as we prepare for sleep.
Although night shift workers must sleep during the day as they do their work at night, it would be wise to invest in dark curtains that prevent an influx of light during the day when you must do sleep and go into REM.
In the same way, it is important to not fall asleep with a television on as the blue light can impact REM cycles and sleep.
On the upside, brighter lights can help you stay awake during your night shift when your body will be craving a dark room and a comfy bed.