By nature, it is intended to be active during daytime and to rest during the night. But, the inner clock of people who work in a rotating- or night shift gets disturbed. The adaption of different body rhythms (sleep-wake-rhythm, digestion) becomes difficult. Often, health impairments are the consequences. Besides a physical strain, often mental strains and an unhealthy lifestyle follow. People try to bypass tiredness with excessive caffeine intake. Some try to cope physical strain with smoking and/or rich meals. But, this only leads to a worse sleeping quality.
Shift work leads to health problems
Often, body and mind can’t deal with the strains due to night shift. People concerned often suffer under:
- sleep disturbances
- intestinal problems
- cardio-vascular disturbances
- weight problems
- social burdens
- mental problems (nervousness, depression)
Helpful tips for a better sleeping quality
- Drink at least two hours before going to sleep no more caffeine-containing beverages like coffee or coke. This would make falling asleep harder.
- Do without alcohol before going to sleep. Alcohol supports falling asleep but disturbs deep sleep.
- Avoid rich meals before going to bed. The body would be busy with digestion and the sleep becomes disturbed. Instead, take some light meal. But, don’t go to bed hungry – an empty stomach is diminishing sleeping quality, too.
- Adapt your body to night shift before it starts. Go to bed later the day before your shift starts and sleep longer into the day. Like this, the change will be easier.
- Sufficient airing, quietness, darkness and a temperature between 16° and 18° C create perfect preconditions for a restful sleep. Get some hints for perfect preconditions.
- Inform your family and friends about your shift plan. Like this, they can take your sleeping times into account.
- Try to stick to regular sleeping times after a shift. Combined with rituals to fall asleep (i.e. take lukewarm showers, listen to favorite music) this supports accommodation of your body to the sleeping times.