Tips for im­prov­ing your sleep if you’re a shift worker

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Health - COUR­TESY AHS

Sleep and safety go hand in hand. Main­tain­ing healthy sleep and bed­time rou­tines can help you to mit­i­gate the chal­lenges of a vari­able sleep pat­tern due to shift work.

It’s im­por­tant to get ad­e­quate sleep while adapt­ing to night shifts or ro­tat­ing shifts. Here are some tips to im­prove your qual­ity of sleep and alert­ness:

Get­ting ready for bed:

In­clude re­lax­ation into your daily rou­tine and make it a pri­or­ity.

Avoid us­ing light-emit­ting de­vices (e.g. tablets, smart­phones) for at least one hour be­fore bed­time.

If you’re a light sleeper, try us­ing earplugs, a white noise ma­chine, an eye mask or black­out cur­tains.

Keep your bed­room com­fort­able, quiet, dark and cool, ide­ally be­tween 17-20 de­grees Cel­sius.

At work:

When it’s time to be alert, max­i­mize your ex­po­sure to day­light or an­other bright light source to give your body the cue it needs.

Where pos­si­ble, keep your work area brightly lit. Get some ex­er­cise and eat light, healthy meals and snacks dur­ing your shift.

Ask for ro­tat­ing shifts to be sched­uled so that new shifts start later than your pre­vi­ous ones.

Af­ter work:

Af­ter a night shift, wear sun­glasses to help keep your body from get­ting fur­ther cues to be alert be­cause of be­ing ex­posed to day­light.

To re­duce the risk of drowsy driv­ing (es­pe­cially af­ter a night shift), find al­ter­nate ways of get­ting home; get a ride, take a cab or pub­lic tran­sit or use a rideshar­ing ser­vice.

Avoid run­ning er­rands or do­ing chores af­ter your even­ing or night shift. These types of ac­tiv­i­ties keep you more alert and are best done af­ter you’ve met your daily need for sleep.

Avoid caf­feine or other stim­u­lants when you’re pre­par­ing for sleep.

Dis­cover the rou­tine that works for you and stick to it, even on your days off work. If you have ques­tions or con­cerns about your sleep health, please dis­cuss them with your health­care prac­ti­tioner.

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