A Good Day’s Sleep for Moonlighters.
If you’ve just accepted a night job, we wish you luck. Sleeping through the day and working during the night goes against all of our natural instincts. We run by something called the circadian rhythm, which was first noted by scientists in 1729, when they studied the effect it had on sun-loving plants.
Although we don’t rely on sunlight to photosynthesise, we too have a body clock that makes us sleepy at night and energetic during the day. Even if you are exhausted, sunlight trickling through your window will trigger your brain to wake up. For those of you on nightshifts, this is a big problem.
Here’s a few simply methods you can employ to help get your head down in the day.
Create a Regular Sleep Schedule
Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time without fail. This way, you can almost forge your own body clock, making it easier to wake up for work. Even if you’re constantly on the go, make sure you check into a hotel and sleep, even if that means a cheap guest bed to get that crucial sleep; it may not be glamorous, but it will get you through the night much better than snoozing at work.
Use Blackout Blinds
When at home, use blackout blinds. This way you can fool your body into thinking its night time, therefore time to sleep. Get the best your wallet can afford, because your blackout blinds will be a lifesaver.
Turn Off Your Phone
Most people are active during the day, so more likely to contact you whilst you’re trying to get some shut-eye. Of course, people won’t call you when it’s passed their bedtime. Having to get up every hour to answer the phone is only going to make your night time shift harder to survive.
Switch on The Lights
At work, make sure you switch on all the lights you can. Think of it as being the opposite of the blackout blind technique, your body will misinterpret this as sunlight, keeping you feeling alert for longer.
Don’t Neck Back The Caffeine
A coffee after you wake up may provide that lift you need in preparation for your night shift, but cut back on the bevvies as the night goes on. Having caffeine before bed is never going to help you get to sleep. Excessive consumption of caffeine during the day will also give you dangerous energy slumps that will feel a lot worse when you’re halfway through a night shift, so go easy on the lattes.
Can’t Stop Yourself From Falling Asleep?
We’ve all been there: your eyelids are dropping and no human force will be able to stop them – your body is overriding your decision-making facility and instigating an emergency shutdown. If possible, take a break and excuse yourself. Go outside and sprint as far as possible, then jog back to work. That will wake you up.
Enjoy Whatever Benefits You Can
Whether it is having a giggle at your friend’s text messages, or being your partner’s alarm clock and turning up with a bouquet of flowers and a cooked breakfast to keep them smiling through the day, make the most of the perks of night shift. Try to enjoy it whenever you can.
This guest post has been contributed by Lloyd on behalf of Archers Sleep Centre.