In our present hyper-connected and very busy world many workers in the country are required to work during odd and wee hours. The shift work schedule is expected to become more widespread as the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump announced he intended to bring back jobs to the United States. His policy may mean that many American workers will take over jobs companies had been outsourcing before.
Working in shifts can put a strain on your sleep pattern. An estimated 22 million Americans work in the evening, rotating, and on call shifts. Reporting to a job in a variety of schedules, including evening and graveyard shift, to cover operations 24 hours, seven days a week forces your body to stay awake and be alert even on the hours you are expected to sleep. These changes in your sleep schedule may lead you to suffer from shift work sleep disorder.
Shift work sleep disorder
Nearly 10 percent of nighttime and rotating shift workers have this sleep disorder and almost 30 percent of them experience symptoms such as difficulty falling and staying asleep or excessive sleepiness.
Sleeping during the day is a struggle for workers reporting at night. On average, they sleep less by two to four hours than usual as they have a hard time getting to sleep during the daytime. Even soft noises or scratches can wake them up.
Effects of insufficient sleep
Worse, shift work sleep disorder can, over an extended time, affect the functions of our organs, which lead to physical and mental health degradation, as well as performance and safety issues.
Overall, sleep deprivation and distorted sleep pattern may result in concentration problems, memory impairment, and other cognitive problems. It may also have more fragile emotional stability and lower productivity levels. Because of these diminished mental and emotional capacities, shift workers, particularly the night shift ones, are prone to accidents and may cause major catastrophes. In fact, sleep deprivation caused the two worst nuclear disasters – the 1986 Chernobyl and 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania incidents.
Sleep tips for shift workers
If you are working on a night or rotating shift schedule, here are some tips that you need to make significant lifestyle adjustments to make sleeping easier for you:
Request to lessen swing shift changes.
Take regular breaks as possible.
Ask for a later shift if you are given a chance to choose your preferred work schedule. Your body adjusts better to sleep for a later time than an earlier one.
Ask your family to lessen phone calls and visitors during the daytime to minimize noise and distractions.
Limit your intake of alcohol, coffee, and other stimulants.
Use window blinds or thick curtains to darken your room.
Eat foods to promote the natural production of melatonin such as cherries or drinking cherry tart juice.
Maintain the room temperature at 65 degrees Fahrenheit by using an air conditioning unit or fan,
Buy top-grade beddings and mattresses such as gel memory foam mattress for a comfortable slumber.
For a shift worker like you, life could be challenging. Aside from sacrificing quality time away from your family, your mind and body also suffer heavily because of distracted and shallow sleep. Doing the tips above could help you adapt to the stress and sleeplessness caused by shift work.
Ethan Wright is a health enthusiast who believes every great day begins with a good night sleep. He is currently a researcher and writer for Bedding Stock, an online retailer of gel memory foam mattress in the USA. When not wearing his writing hat, you will see him traveling to places with his journal.