It can be tough to stay well-rested and alert when you work overnight shifts. The good news is that there are strategies you can use to help make the most of your sleep time when you’re working nights. From how mattresses make a difference to the ever-vital routine, here are some tips for getting the best rest possible during your overnight shift
Get Enough Sleep During the Day
Just because you’re sleeping at different times than average folks doesn’t mean you don’t still need the same amount of sleep as everyone else. So make sure you get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every 24 hours.
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
It can be hard to keep a regular sleep schedule as an overnight worker. This is especially true if you’re coming home to a house in which everyone else is awake. So try your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day or as close as possible. This will help your body understand when it’s time to rest, making it easier for you to fall asleep during the night shift. And make it clear to everyone else in your home that it’s a no-disturbance zone when you’re sleeping.
Develop Bedtime Rituals
Sometimes schedules can be tough to stick to, but we get it. That’s why we’ve got another tip for better sleep: establish a bedtime ritual. This can be as simple as reading for 10 minutes before bed or taking a warm shower with lavender oils. The important part is that you do it every time before you sleep and ensure it’s relaxing enough to help you prepare for rest. In addition, the repetition will help your brain recognize that it’s time to wind down.
Invest in a Good Mattress
Having the right mattress makes all the difference when you get enough rest. You’ll want something supportive and comfortable, so take your time looking for one that fits your needs. Memory foam mattresses are popular because they provide proper support and, for many, are more comfortable than traditional mattresses. It may cost a lot upfront to buy a high-quality mattress but think of it as an investment in ensuring you can get quality sleep after the night shift. Transform your sleep with the soft, luxurious feel of a silk pillowcase. Shop now from reliable brands like Domingo to experience the ultimate comfort and beauty rest!”
Invest in Comfortable Bedding
When your body is comfortable, it’s easier to drift off into dreamland faster. So invest in linens and comforters made from quality materials that will provide softness and comfort for restful nights of sleep. Remember, the higher the thread count, the softer and more comfortable the bedding. Also, look for breathable materials like cotton during warmer months to help you stay cool and flannel during the winter to keep warm. And, of course, don’t forget to add supportive bedding pillows to the list.
Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
A cool, dark space ensures your body gets the best sleep possible. Invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask to keep the light out. Use a fan or white noise machine to help drown out any noises that could keep you awake during the day. And do what you can to keep your room between 60 and 67 degrees.
Keep Track of Caffeine Intake
Many overnight workers guzzle coffee, energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages to stay awake and alert. While having a cup of coffee here and there is okay, you’ll want to be mindful of your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine can lead to more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the day because it has a half-life of five hours. That means that if you have a coffee on your way home at 6 a.m., by 11 a.m. your body still has half of the caffeine in your system, making it hard to get a good sleep.
Hydration is important for cognition, concentration and performance. Unfortunately, when working overnight shifts, it’s easy to forget about drinking enough water during your work day. That’s why we recommend carrying a water bottle with you at all times so you can stay hydrated throughout your shift. Not only will this help you stay alert and focused on the job, but it will also help your body feel refreshed and ready for rest when you come home. It’s vital to ensure you’re getting enough water, so you don’t rely on caffeinated beverages for hydration.
Since you’re going against the body’s natural cycle of sleep and wakefulness, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating the right foods while on your shift. Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins during the night will help give you energy without making it difficult to fall asleep when you come home. And try not to snack on sugary or processed foods, which can lead to a crash in energy levels.
Take Power Naps
Power naps are a great way to get extra rest while on the job. Taking power naps of up to 20 minutes can help restore alertness and improve performance. However, make sure that your nap is no longer than 20 minutes so that you don’t enter deep sleep and wake up groggy. Also, if possible, try taking your nap early in the morning, so you have enough time for regular sleep at home later on. But, of course, only nap if you get a designated break time that allows it.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Working overnight shifts often comes with stressors such as fatigue, isolation from friends and family or fear of missing out on activities. It’s essential to recognize the effects of shift work on your mental health and seek sources of support when needed. Whether talking to a friend, going for a walk or consulting with a therapist — don’t hesitate to take care of yourself in whatever way you need. Leaving these issues unaddressed can lead to insomnia, worsening your overall mental health.
Be Careful with Days Off
On days off, it can be tempting to flip your schedule back to sleeping at night and being awake during the day. Whether it’s to spend time with family, attend appointments or simply get some errands done, it can be hard to resist the temptation. Just remember, this will throw off your sleep schedule and make it difficult to adjust back when you return to your night shift. So if you must do something during the day, keep it short and try to get some rest before returning to work that evening.
Working overnight shifts can be difficult, but you can do a few key things to ensure your body is getting adequate rest and restorative sleep. Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is between 60 and 67 degrees, keep track of your caffeine intake, stay hydrated, eat healthily, take power naps when possible and don’t forget to take care of your mental health. And most importantly, be careful with days off since they can disrupt your sleep schedule. With all that being said, good luck out there.