The Cleveland Clinic’s Brain and Spine Team recently shed light on so-called shift work sleep disorder, quoting sleep expert Tina Waters in the Clinic’s Health Hub publication: “Working non-traditional shifts interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms. Most of us are awake during the day because our body’s internal clock is keeping us awake. So no matter how tired you are after working all night, your awakening signals will conflict with your desire to sleep.”
Lifestyle changes can help, and Waters recommends “good sleep hygiene,” which includes:
- Establishing a regular bedtime routine and sticking to it; and
- making the sleep environment conducive to sleep (keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet).
Waters also recommends going home and sleeping as soon as the night shift is over. “One of the triggers that keeps people awake is light, so it helps to decrease your light exposure at least 30 minutes before trying to sleep,” she says. “One way you can do that is to wear sunglasses on your way home, even on a cloudy day.”
Night shift workers tend to drink caffeine, but cutting back is another good idea. “If you’re drinking caffeine to stay awake, try not to drink any within four hours of the end of your shift to give your body time to metabolize it,” says Waters.
Source: CleveLand Clinic HealthHub