What do firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, factory workers, and office cleaning staff have in common? They are all shift workers - meaning out of everyone in the world, these people probably find it hardest to adapt to a regular sleeping routine. Whether you're a shift worker, or just run a schedule that makes you prone to staying up late at night, it's important to implement a routine or ritual that will help you avoid shift work sleeping disorder at all costs. You don't have to compromise your sleep hygiene or health just because of late nights - there's plenty of things you can do to ensure you're as happy and healthy as the rest of us. Here are a few things you can consider implementing:
1. If possible, avoid consecutive shifts longer than 12 hours and avoid working an extensive amount of overtime
After night shifts, it is recommended that you have at least 48 hours off so your body can recover. When you have a day or two off from work, it is good idea to catch up on rest. With such a busy schedule, it might be tempting to catch up with your friends for coffee - but seriously, sleep first. Everything else can wait!
2. Create an inviting, peaceful and sacred sleep space for you to come home to
Working long, late hours will make sleep seem like a treat. Sweeten the moment you come home and step into your bedroom by keeping it clean, tidy and inviting. Try using a diffuser with essential oils to create ambiance and relaxation, and if you're sleeping during the day, consider a Silk Sleep Mask to block out the light.
While it might seem like an unnecessary chore, it's also very important to remember what mum taught you and make your bed when you're done sleeping. It only takes a few minutes, and research suggests making your bed will make you happier and feeling well rested - so try to implement this into your wake up routine.
3. Reduce Screen Time
If you've been working long shifts, binging on your favourite series might seem like the most tempting thing to do once you're home. But light, noise, and content from televisions, smartphones, and tablets are stimulating and can cause difficulty falling asleep - and Netflix will still be there when you wake up. We said it before, and we'll say it again - sleep first!
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
That McMuffin on your early morning drive home might be an easy option, but it's no good for your sleep cycle. Diet is an extremely important contributor to getting a good night's rest! Try to meal prep something simple and healthy when you can, so you have something nutritious to eat both on the clock and when you get home. You can find some healthy (sleep friendly) recipe ideas here.
5. Keep Your Sleep Time Ritual - Even If It's In the Morning
If you're consistently going to bed early in the morning, your body clock can get confused about when it's meant to rest. Keep it in line by implementing a sleep ritual - whether that's journalling, drinking a cup of tea, or meditating - it will help remind your body that it's time to wind down and prepares the mind for rest.
Now that you're ready to improve your schedule, start by building your sleep ritual here.