Sleep is important for everyone. But for nurses and other healthcare workers, who can cause serious injury to others if they are careless for even a moment, it is even more important.
But how are you supposed to get enough when you’re switching from a morning shift to an afternoon shift to a night shift? You come home and the sun is shining, cars driving by, people talking and dogs barking. You arrive home, have breakfast, greet your family, then head to the bedroom, draw the curtains and go to bed. All the while your body clock is thinking ‘what the heck is going on?!’
All adults require seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Sleeping during the day is not as restorative as night sleep.
Nightshift workers, especially those with unpredictable shifts, rarely get the amount of sleep they need.
There are numerous suggestions for helping nightshift workers sleep better but do any of these really work?
- Wear sunglasses on the way home from work. It signals to your brain that your shift is over.
- Nap during your lunch break. Studies indicate that just twenty to thirty minutes of sleep can make you more alert.
- Limit your caffeine and only consume in the first four hours that you are awake.
Do you think these tips work? Or is sleeping well during the day just something you have to get used too?
How much depends on the individual? I have two family members that regularly work nursing night shifts. One swaps back and forth between morning, afternoon and night and always feels like a ‘zombie’ even after having a decent sleep; the other works nightshift four nights a week, every week, and can sleep anywhere at the drop of a hat and wake up completely alert and ready to go. She has no problem sleeping at night on her nights off either.
So what’s the difference? Is that the ‘routine’ that makes the difference? Or does it depend on the individual?
We would love to hear your thoughts!