Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
Sleep problems that result from shift work can put a strain on every area of your life, but there are steps and strategies you can take to improve your sleep.
Control your sleep environment - A dark, cool room helps, especially if you have to sleep during the day.
Develop a sleep ritual - A sleep routine lets your body know it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep.
- Turn off the phone, TV, computer or any electronics, 30 minutes before you plan to retire and take them out of the room if you can so you’re not tempted to turn them on.
- Have a warm bath
- Sip a relaxing cup of herbal tea or warm milk
- Have dedicated sleep wear
- Jot down 3 things that went well during the day/nightshift or that you’re thankful for, you’ll be closing your eyes with pleasant thoughts
Avoid eating or drinking 4-6 hours before bedtime - Avoid all caffeine and alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but as it metabolizes you’ll wake up.
Protect your sleep time - Lack of sleep can have an effect on your physical and mental health, make it a priority. Let family and friends know if you are sleeping during the day and ask them not to disturb you.
Stay Active - Staying physically active is good for your mental and physical health and contributes to quality sleep. Try to exercise at lease 4-6 hours before sleep to ensure that you’ve given your body time to wind down and relax.
If you continue to have difficulty sleeping, talk with your Doctor.
The information contained in this toolkit is provided for general information only.
It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician or appropriate health-care provider with respect to your particular circumstances.