If you’ve started working a night shift and are having trouble sleeping during the day, here are some tips to help you establish a healthy sleep routine.
Avoid stimulants before bed
You may be tempted to have some coffee or energy drinks to help you stay awake during the night, but these drinks may prevent you from sleeping if you take them too close to your new bedtime. Try to avoid any stimulants in the second half of your work shift.
Reduce your exposure to light
The human body is designed to sleep when it gets dark. In order to reduce your exposure to sunlight and artificial light, you can try wearing sunglasses during your commute from work to home, even when on a cloudy day. Avoid making stops on your way home.
Once home, use curtains or blinds to reduce the light in your home. You can also wear your sunglasses indoors.
Don’t spend too much time looking at electronic screens (television, computer, smartphone, tablet) because the light they emit is a strong stimulant.
Create a quiet environment
At night, there is generally a lot less noise than during the day. In order to reduce the sound level while you sleep, you can try wearing earplugs or sleeping in a more remote room (e.g. in the basement).
Taking a quick nap (no more than 30 minutes) late in the day, before you start your shift, can help you catch up on a bit of sleep. Set your alarm to make sure you don’t oversleep!
Have a healthy lifestyle
Eating well and being physically active is just as important when working a night shift. Schedule your fitness activities after you get up, rather than before you go to bed.
Avoid frequent shift changes
Whenever possible, avoid alternating between night shifts and day shifts.
Adapt your sleep schedule on weekends
Experts recommend keeping the same sleep routine on the weekend, but that may not be compatible with your family life. Workers on a midnight to 8 a.m. shift can compromise by going to bed at 3 a.m. and getting up at noon on their days off.