Let’s be honest. Sleeping during the day is HARD. Our bodies are hard-wired to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. When you are working nights, your natural body clock gets thrown out of time.
Staying awake at night is difficult enough. Throw in a bad sleeping day, and the night shift becomes so much worse. There are several things you can implement when you are trying to get enough sleep when working night shift. Below are several tips that have worked well.
If you are like me and most other night shifters, caffeine is great at helping you stay awake at night. However, this can be a double-edged sword. A venti coffee early in the shift may give you a nice little boost, but a 3-hour energy drink at 6 am before you leave might just keep you awake a lot longer than you would like. According to the National Sleep Foundation, avoid caffeine at least 4-6 hours before bed. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to twelve hours, so if you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine (like me), avoid drinking caffeinated beverages earlier.
Room Darkening Curtains
100% blackout curtains are non-negotiable when sleeping during the day. Darkening curtains keep out the harsh sunlight and can help “trick” your body into thinking it’s night time.
This is an especially handy trick if you have a noisy neighbor, are near a busy road, or have a loud household. We live in a very quiet area, so I rarely have noise issues. I recently had to spend a few days in a hotel while working the night shift. I wore earplugs while I slept during the day and I slept so good and never woke up due to noise.
Avoid Screen Time
Those of us that are not able to sleep at night, have disrupted our natural circadian rhythm. Unfortunately, the little entertainment device that we keep in our pocket, may further contribute to disrupted sleep. Studies have shown that blue light exposure suppresses the natural production of melatonin in the body. Attempt to not view screens for 2-3 hours before bed. There is also blue light blocking glasses that can be used to limit the amount of blue light that your eyes pick up. However, I have not used these so, I cannot vouch for the effectiveness.
White Noise Machine
My husband loves falling asleep listening to the TV, but that honestly distracts me to no end. Personally, I relax best with a very quiet noise in the background. There are many white noise machines on the market, but I love my Amazon Echo Dot . The Echo can play white noise and do so much more for a smaller price tag.
Seek Medical Advice
If all else fails and you are completely unable to sleep during the day, please consult your physician for professional medical advice.
These are some of the tricks that have helped me over the years. I would love to hear from you if you have any tips to improve sleep for night shift workers.