About 20% of Americans do shiftwork, starting work either in the late afternoon or in the middle of the night. Their health suffers, and their relationships can suffer too. If you are on a shiftwork schedule, here are some strategies to manage the shiftwork lifestyle well.
– First, establish a wake / sleep schedule that you can maintain most days of the week. Try to have some of your sleep hours the same, regardless of whether it is a work day or day off.
– Shiftworkers typically get less sleep than those who work during the day. Adjust your schedule to allow enough sleep time, close to 8 hours each night is probably needed.
– To help you sleep those hours, make your bedroom ideal for sleeping. It needs to be cool, dark, relatively quiet, no pets, and no lit clocks. If you are trying to sleep during the day this can take more effort, but it will be worth it. Get blackout shades, or use an eyecover. Keep a fan running softly or earplugs to keep it quiet. Train your pets that you are not available during your sleep time. Set the alarm to wake you up, and then ignore the time, allowing yourself to be ‘off duty.’
In our 24 hour society people will need to work at all hours. With a thoughtful strategy working shifts can be easier.
At The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, Dr. Darley provides care for people of all ages who have sleep problems. More at http://www.naturalsleepmedicine.net/