A regular sleep-wake-cycle is essential for a healthy and restful sleep. But, this is difficult for shift workers. Due to their alternating working times they are not able to stick to a regular cycle. And this may lead to sleep disturbances. Now, what can shift workers do to improve their sleeping quality?
Works doctors advice to sleep in shifts as well. Meaning, sleeping about four hours directly after work and two to three hours in the afternoon.
Only sleep a short time during the day after the last night shift (after a block of night shifts). Like this, you will be tired in the evening and the transition to a restful and longer night sleep will be smoother and easier.
Avoid caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, black tea or energy drinks at least two hours before going to bed.
Heavy meals before going to bed lead to a full stomach – consequently the body is busy with digestion. And this disturbs sleep. This is the reason why you should avoid heavy meals about four hours before going to bed. It is ok to have a small snack because an empty stomach might also impair sleeping quality.
Alcohol is supporting falling asleep but is disturbing sleeping through. That’s why you should avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed. When you stick to regular sleeping times after your shift your body will get used to the sleeping time. Here, rituals are helpful as well.
Sufficient airing of the bed room, darkness, a proper and bedding-climate-regulating sleeping underlay as well as a room temperature between 61° and 64° F are perfect pre-conditions for a restful sleep. To avoid disturbances best inform family, friends and neighbors about your fix sleeping times.
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