As a sleep deprived shift worker it can be an uphill battle to achieve a perfect night’s sleep. Actually near impossible for many people which is why the Dracula hormone or as it’s more commonly known, Melatonin – can be your best friend.
Why is it called the Dracula hormone?
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by our bodies and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Dracula of hormone’ as it only ‘comes out’ when it’s dark.
After tucking yourself into a comfy bed and turning out the lights, your pineal gland starts producing melatonin which then goes about inducing sleepiness. It quite literally puts you to sleep.
So while you’re sleeping, melatonin is responsible for restoring a lot of the physical energy that you used up during the day.
In essence, this makes melatonin a shift worker’s best friend.
The trouble for many shift workers however is they have to sleep during the day which can be very difficult when the sunlight is shimmering in your bedroom. Bright light actually inhibits the release of melatonin and thereby makes it very difficult to fall asleep.
Which is why blocking out your bedroom from sunlight and other bright lights is essential for any shift worker trying to catch up on some lost sleep or after night shift.
Even the light from your digital alarm clock or small rays of sunlight sneaking through the edges of your drapes can keep you awake.
So my 3 Essential Tips for Reducing Night Shift Fatigue include:
1. Block out your bedroom completely – ideally with something like Bedroom Blackout Blinds as they seal off the edges of windows eliminating any light from sneaking through.
2. Buy yourself a comfortable eye mask.
3. Turn off the clock radio, unplug and switch off the home phone as well as your mobile. But before you do, send out a ‘Do Not Disturb Shift Worker Sleeping’ text to all of your friends and family so they know to leave you alone.
Night shift fatigue is certainly something that you’re never going to be able to eliminate completely – particularly if you work a lot of night shifts. But just by following these 3 simple tips, it should help you to feel somewhat ‘normal’ – particularly when you’re able to secure a few hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep.