If you consistently work the night shift, you know the toll that the lack of sleep has on your body. Those who work the night shift or transition their sleep between days and nights are at higher risk for fatigue, restlessness, and decreased attention, making it more important than ever that when you do get a chance to rest, that sleep should be of the highest quality possible.
How can you improve your sleep after working a night shift? There are a few tricks that can help you find better rest.
Minimize Natural Light
One of the hardest parts of sleeping post-shift during the day is that natural light prompts your body to be alert, aware, and awake–all things you don’t want after working the overnight shift. Set up a dedicated sleep area that minimizes light. You can do this by using blackout curtains, wearing an eye mask, or sleeping in a space that has fewer or smaller windows. Start your transition to sleep on your drive home by wearing sunglasses.
Block Out Noises
While your day is winding down, the outside world is just waking up. That means garbage trucks, school buses, and other noisy vehicles will be rumbling down your street. Your neighbor might have the worst timing ever for using their lawnmower. While you can’t control outside noises, you can minimize their impact on your sleep by blocking out the sounds with earplugs. If you dislike earplugs or find them uncomfortable, consider a white noise machine or a fan, both of which can mask loud variation in sounds from the outdoors.
Schedule Enough Time
On average, adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep to be fully rested. This amount applies to night shift employees sleeping as well. While it can be hard to maintain sleep for that long during the day, try to schedule up to nine hours of sleep. When you arrive home, prepare for bed and get to sleep as soon as possible. Decrease the opportunity for your natural response to daylight to kick in by keeping your blinds drawn and lights low or off; avoid TV, tablet, or smartphone screens and instead, get to sleep as soon as possible after returning home.
Carefully Monitor Your Diet
Caffeine can help at the beginning of a night shift, but drink coffee too close to the end of your shift and you may not be able to sleep when you finally arrive home. Everybody is affected differently by caffeine, but a good rule of thumb is to stop drinking caffeine by halfway through your shift. This rule is true for other stimulants, such as nicotine. Avoid smoking or drinking before bed to reach a better, deeper sleep.
Drink a full glass of water before you lie down for sleep to make sure you’re properly hydrated and be sure to drink water throughout your shift. Eat a full meal or at least a snack to avoid being woken up by a growling, empty stomach.
Upgrade Your Mattress
Setting up your sleep environment is a critical part of good daytime sleep. In addition to minimal daylight, soothing noise, and a cooler temperature, your mattress is an important component to achieving a deep sleep after your shift. Consider upgrading your mattress to one of our products. We offer all-natural, non-toxic mattresses that are made in America and shipped directly to you. We make our products with organic cotton, American Eco-wool and organic Dunlop latex. The best mattress is one that provides healthy, comfortable and supportive sleep–and we make it easy for you to test out our products with our 100 Night Sleep Trial.