If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep when you work shift work, then it’s highly possible that light – or more specifically too much of it, is a major contributing factor.
Of course it’s a fairly well-known fact that in order for you to sleep better, your bedroom needs to be as dark as physically possible.
In fact even the light from your alarm clock or strong moonlight can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep.
So what can you do to help improve your sleep and thereby reduce your shift work fatigue?
1. Eliminate light from your bedroom – completely. This may include installing blinds, shutters or curtains, but just make sure that they are wide enough to cover gaps around the windows to eliminate any light from sneaking in.
2. Use eye masks or eye shades. Shop around and find ones that black out the light completely and are comfortable to wear. Eye masks that are not too bulky and are made from natural fibres are best as they are less likely to cause irritation whilst you are sleeping.
3. Turn off your light when you go to bed. Might sound silly, but many people actually fall asleep with the light turned on, only to wake up a few hours later feeling groggy and disorientated.
So if you work shift work, getting enough sleep is usually one of the hardest things to overcome. But if you begin to apply the above steps into your bedroom routine, you will start to notice a dramatic difference in your quality and quantity of sleep.
Quite simply, more sleep you acquire – the more energy for you.
Getting enough sleep when you’re a shift worker can certainly be an uphill battle. Achieving that good quality, restorative sleep can so often elude the already sleep-deprived shift worker.
So what can you do to help ensure that you are getting enough sleep?
Well the most important bit of advice that I can give you is actually often the most overlooked, and it’s called making your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Some simple tips include the following:
1. Your bedroom environment should calm you. That means no computers, televisions, mobile phones, violent reading material or dirty clothes – all of these can make you feel anxious and keep you awake.
If you must keep some electronics in your bedroom, make sure you turn them off before bedtime and keep them out of your sight.
2. A slightly cool room can help enhance your sleep – about 18 degrees is considered a good bench mark. This is because it matches what occurs deep inside the body, when the body’s internal temperature drops during the night to its lowest level.
3. In addition the darker it is when you sleep, the better your melatonin production and the better the quality of your sleep. So to block out light from outside, always draw your blinds or curtains and turn those brightly lit digital clocks around so you can’t see them.
Getting enough sleep if you’re a shift worker is certainly hard to do, but it’s important to realise how your bedroom environment plays an enormous role in both the quality and quantity of your sleep. And the good news for shift workers is that this is something that you can change quite easily.