If you’re having problems sleeping then welcome to the wonderful wide world of shift work! Thanks to the crazy and irregular hours that we work, getting a good night’s sleep can certainly be one of hardest things to achieve. And we all know that sleep deprivation is certainly not good for our long term health.
So are you one of these poor souls that spend countless hours tossing and turning in your bed trying to get off to sleep? Do you unwillingly stare at the ceiling as you try and nod off into the Land of Zeds? Or perhaps you just glare at your ‘smiling’ alarm clock as it sits innocently on your bedside table, ready to let out that piercing ‘da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da!’ – at a far earlier time than any human being should have to endure might I add!
Well if any of these scenarios are sounding familiar to you, then I might just have the solution for you.
Have you ever thought that your pyjamas might be one of the reasons why you’re not sleeping properly? Or that your bedroom might be to blame because it’s just so incredibly stuffy and suffocating in there, that even a highly trained NASA astronaut would struggle to breathe in such an oxygen depleted environment?
Confused? Well let me explain.
Firstly, let’s discuss what you’re wearing (or not wearing), to bed at night. Because for most of us, when we buy clothes to wear we try our darndest to ensure that we look good and that they’re comfortable to wear. Fairly common sense you would agree? So why is it then, that so many shift workers neglect their wardrobes when it comes to sleeping attire?
Now I’m not talking about wearing the most expensive, highly fashionable sleepwear that you can buy. After all, most people aren’t even going to see you or even care about what you look like in bed. OK well somebody might, but just like so many women around the world go out and buy expensive shoes to wear- comfort does not always come first.
But if you’re serious about wanting to get a good night’s sleep, then you’re going to have to change your thinking – and therefore your shopping behaviour.
You see, ideally your bedclothes should be made of cotton so that your body can essentially ‘breathe’. If you’re wearing synthetic fabrics to bed, then don’t expect to get a good night’s sleep because it can raise your body temperature and cause you to wake up.
So throw away the fancy pyjamas (or just keep them for special occasions) – and go and buy some more ‘practical’ pyjamas that are made of natural fibres.
Now the next thing that I wanted to talk about was your window. And I’m certainly hoping that you have at least one in your bedroom, and one that you can safely keep open during the night because I cannot over-emphasise the value of fresh air on your health and your sleep.
This is particularly important if you suffer from insomnia (blimey, shift work AND insomnia – you must be a walking zombie). But as insomniacs tend to breathe very shallowly when they sleep, they tend to rebreathe their own stale air. Now that is definitely not good for your health.
The circulation of fresh air throughout the bedroom at night is one of the best ways of ensuring a restful night’s sleep. Some people actually find the presence of an air ioniser in the room can also help improve the quality of their sleep, so it could be worth considering if you do suffer from insomnia quite badly.
And finally, it’s important to realise that over-sleeping can be just as bad as under-sleeping (yes I know I’m talking to shift workers here), but if you over-sleep in an airtight room without any fresh air, then you can wake up feeling like you have a hangover the next day. And I don’t know about you, but waking up suffering from a hangover when you haven’t had a single drop of alcohol the night before can certainly be very soul destroying!