Shift Work Sleep Disorder: It’s A Thing!
This contributed post details the ways to get a better nights sleep when you work the late shift.
In life, there are certain things that we need to survive. We need to have a nutritious and varied diet. We need to exercise and get our bodies moving. Lastly, we need copious amounts of restful sleep. If there’s one thing that most adults have in common, it’s that we are perpetually tired. The stresses of work, family, and general life interrupts the sleep we so crave and if you happen to be in a profession that requires you to work shifts, then you will be already well-versed in how difficult sleep can be to come by.
Nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters are all at a high risk of shift work sleep disorder. Working irregular shifts that bounce around in the week both on nights and days can really affect your sleep and how much rest your body gets. Sleep is important for our brains to reset, recharge and give our bodies a much-needed energy boost. When you have to vary your hours and work long shifts in a physically demanding job, your rest gets interrupted more often than not, which not only affects your health physically but mentally. Doing some good research with some mattress companies to get the best sleeping situation for you is going to be an important part of getting that lucrative night of sleep. But how does lack of sleep affect those on shift?
Ideally, when you have someone in a profession of long shift stretches, they are focused and alert. Most of the jobs are in charge of the rescue of other people, and you want those people in charge of rescuing others to be awake and ready to do their job properly. Lack of sleep can affect memory, ability to focus and ability to think rationally – all things you want from someone who is working in public services. There are also risks to health when working overnight shifts, metabolic syndromes and heart disease being some of those risks. There are some ways that you can get a decent night of sleep when working shifts and part of it will include you working with your employer.
- Avoid working too many night shifts in a row. Not only would you have broken days of no sleep at all, you’re risking a severe lack of vitamin D. Sunlight is important while that night shift premium may be attractive, it’s not worth your health being messed up over. Arrange with your employer to limit nights and work days instead.
- Keep your workplace as bright as possible so that you can stay as alert as possible. A dark workplace can only serve to make your body switch off and settle, so stay alert and cool so that you don’t get too cozy.
- Limit your caffeine intake where you can. Caffeine, when a shift starts, is good to get you going, but you need to think about getting to sleep, later on, so limiting it is the best thing you can do.
- As much as possible, stick to a regular schedule for falling asleep and waking up, and avoid bright light in the home before you fall asleep.