As a shift worker, finding a way to get a good night’s sleep can sometimes feel like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack – without any success at all!
But it’s important to remember that sleep is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.
No matter what time of the day or night, you need to create a slowing-down period before you go to bed. Let your mind experience a degree of silence and stillness as you prepare for sleep.
This way, you’re helping your mind to unwind and switch off from work. We all know what’s it’s like to try and sleep after night shift, particularly when your head is still spinning from a hectic and stressful time at work.
So what are some simple tips to help you fall asleep?
1. This might sound a bit child-like, but drinking a glass of warm milk before you go to bed is helpful in inducing sleep. The calcium in the milk is calming, and if you add a teaspoon of honey – this can be very soothing.
2. Don’t eat a heavy meal or have any stimulants (including caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol) for at least three hours before retiring.
3. Do walk for 30 minutes each day, preferably during the morning.
4. Don’t watch any television, especially violent or action-oriented programs just before you retire to bed. Instead, learn how to practice meditation so that you can enter into a quiet state of mind.
5. Don’t exercise, unless it’s an easy walk, after 6pm. (Particularly if you have an early start the next day!)
6. Keep an inspirational book or a novel in your bedside table so that it’s handy for some light bedtime reading.
7. Don’t worry about NOT sleeping, or lie awake becoming more and more frustrated. Often simply getting out of bed and walking to the kitchen to get yourself a glass of warm water or camomile tea, or to the bathroom to clean your teeth, helps you to drift into sleep.
So the next time you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, try these seven simple tips to help you fall asleep! It doesn’t matter if you’re on day shift or night shift, either way if you begin to apply them to your sleeping ritual – you’ll begin to notice that your fight to achieve a perfect night’s sleep, might actually become a thing of the past.