One thing in common in tech employees, doctors, truck drivers, firefighters have in common is that all of these professions demand to work in nights. Irrespective of your regular time schedules, working for night shifts can be a real challenge. In this article, I have gathered some tips to help you cope with working into the late night and early hours of the day.
I work on night shifts for a Unites States firm and the USA has six time zones, and my shift falls under Eastern Time Zone. I have been dealing with night shifts for a while now. These timings include the risk of having metabolic problems, heart disease, gastrointestinal difficulties, obesity, and certain cancers. Here are some of the best strategies to cope with night shifts.
1. Manage Sleep Patterns
Managing sleep patterns – This is the most common problem with night shifts. If you are a beginner, you must have experienced sleep deprivation and fatigue. This is because we tend to sleep in the night and awake during day times. These shifts disturb the natural rhythms of the body.
To overcome this, make sure your room is dark enough, quiet, and cool enough to help you sleep comfortably.
There is one more point – keep your phone in silent mode. One phone call or back to back message ring tones can destroy your hours of sleep time in the mornings.
2. Control Light Exposure
When you work on night shifts, you tend to see a lot of light, and that level of exposure to your eyes cues chemical events that trigger sleep cycles. You can wear sunglasses on your way back home to avoid sunlight exposure. When you reach home, artificial light can affect your circadian pacemaker in the same way as sunlight, and timed exposure to bright light can help you in disturbing the body’s sleep cycle.
If you have a tough time to make yourself awake during work, you can trick your body into an alert state with some bright light. However, when you reach home, keep the bedroom dark; thus, you can keep your body in sleep mode until next time when you want to wake up.
3. Watch Your Diet
It is not all about sleep in night shifts. Even the food habits take an upside downturn with unbalance in the rhythm of the food cycle. Night shift employees tend to experience metabolic syndrome, and it is even more in the beginners. According to a report, the beginners have more risk of becoming obese due to improper diet of the body clock.
To avoid these discomforts in food and health, plan your meals accordingly to your timings to stay alert during your working hours. A healthy food schedule helps in proper sleep too.
Get the food ready in your bag as it will be hard to find groceries during nights. Or else take the food prepared from home. That’ll be the best.
4. Take a Nap
5. Use Caffeine Wisely
Certain things can not be overdone. One such thing is the usage of caffeine to escape sleep during night shifts. When it is used carefully, it helps in remaining alert throughout the night shift, and improper usage can cause gastrointestinal upsets that can lead to more upsets in your body.
The workers who consume a smaller quantity of coffee tend to use frequent doses of caffeine throughout their day and wakefulness and experience fewer accidental naps than those who have coffee.
Some people use Red Bull drink as an alternative to counter accidental naps and sleeps at work. One Red Bull tin is an equivalent of two eggs and a cup of coffee. However, since Red Bull is a liquid, it spreads in the body faster and acts quickly to avoid accidental naps throughout the shift.
Having said that, the combination of techniques that suit to fight night shifts differ from one person to another. These strategies may help you on your way to cope with night shifts in a better way and make sure that you get enough amount of sleep to focus properly at work.