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9 Essential Tips to Sleep Better When You Work Third Shift

woman sleeping during daylight with drapes open

Most people work during the day and sleep at night. However, many people work all night long. More people work on third-shift than you realize. These people have to sleep when the sun is shining. This can be hard for many people because it is unnatural for our bodies.

Here are some tips to help you sleep better when you work third shift. 

1. Keep everything well-lit at night

Your internal clock wants you to sleep during the night when it is dark out so that you can be awake during the day. To change your internal clock, you are going to want to keep your workplace well lit up. Keep all of the lights on to keep yourself up. You may also want to use extra lamps and lights to make sure that you can stay up.

2. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible

You should use heavy curtains to keep as much sunlight out of your room as possible, so your internal clock feels like it is nighttime. Even if you are exhausted and can sleep, your brain still feels the sun and will try to wake you up all day long. You won't feel rested, even if you laid down all day!

3. Stick to your routine

Once your body gets into a routine of sleeping during the day and being awake at night, you should stick to that routine. When possible, you should do this even when you aren't working.  You should still try to sleep during the day on weekends so that you don't mess up your routine.

You should also stick to the same shift. Many people work swing shifts, which can be hard on a person. Your body is not going to know when it should be awake and when it should be asleep, so you may struggle to get enough sleep every day.

4. Until you get into a routine, you may need to use medication to help your body adjust

Though most people avoid medications at all costs, it may help your body get into a new routine. Many people take stimulants, like Nuvigil and Provigil, to help them stay awake during the day. Then, once it is time to go to bed, you may want to try sleep aids to help you fall asleep faster. Some people who struggle with working third-shift use antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

5. Limit your caffeine intake

Caffeine can be a great way to help you stay awake while working the night shift. However, it can make it difficult to fall asleep when you do get home. There is nothing wrong with drinking coffee to keep yourself awake. However, you should start limiting the amount you are drinking once you get closer to the end of your shift.

6. Make sure that your family respects your sleep time

You don't bother your family when they are sleeping, so they must do the same for you. You have every right to ask your family to give you the privacy that you need to sleep well.

If you have young children, ask if they can play outside where you won't be able to hear them as well. Ask your family members not to have company around when you are trying to sleep. Avoid having any work done to the house while you are in bed. All of these sounds can interrupt your sleep, making you feel rough when you wake up.

7. Remind others when you are going to be sleeping

Though your immediate family will know that you are in bed, other friends and family members may not know. There is nothing wrong with reminding people that you sleep during the day, and you need to be left alone. You can talk to them when you wake up in the afternoon or evening.

8. Silence the phone

Phone calls can interrupt your sleep, so you must put them on silence (or keep them in the other room) when you are trying to sleep. You may also ask family members to avoid getting phone calls during this time.

9. Block out other noises

Even if your room is dark and your children aren't running around the house bothering you, it can be noisy during the day. You are going to have to find a way to block out the noises. Most people start with earplugs, though many also struggle to sleep with them in their ears.

You may also try leaving the radio or television on low, listening to white noise, or even leave a fan running. Some people even sleep with noise-canceling headphones on so that they get a good night's sleep.

Contact us for other tips to sleep better, day or night!

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