How to improve the sleep of those who work in shifts

What can you do to improve the sleep of those who work by shifts is to keep a regular rhythm of 8 hours of rest, using herbal teas such as Valerian, which help you calm down when you need to sleep, and consider taking a supplement called Melatonin, which does not induce, but improves the quality of sleep.

Besides, it is very important to make between 5 to 6 meals per day, making it possible to ingest the maximum nutrients in each meal, but without overdoing it on calories to avoid weight gain and the risk of diabetes, which are more frequent in those who have no regular times for eating, sleeping, and working.

Some tips to improve sleep and quality of life of those who work in shifts are:

1. Sleep at the right time

As typically the work schedule varies from one week to another, what one can do is to make a plan to know what time they should sleep, in order to ensure the necessary rest to the body and mind. A good example plan is:

Work shift That hours sleep (8h)
When working in the Morning shift or the Afternoon Sleep of night, from 23.00 to 07:00.
When you quit the night shift Sleep in the morning, 08:30 to 16:30.
When you get on the Night shift Sleep at least 3 hours in the afternoon before the start of the turn
When you have Clearance Sleep during the night if the next day to work in the morning or in the afternoon

After having worked the night shift, it is normal that even having slept the 8 hours recommended, if you wake up with sleep and stay a little more tired the next day, but this feeling will disappear throughout the day.

A good strategy to rest and wake up full of vigour is to wake up at the right time. So, if you grab a quick sleep, and only wakes up when the alarm sounds, to put it to wake up 6 or 9 hours after you catch up on sleep.

2. Do not drink coffee 3 hours before bedtime

Whenever you are near of your time of rest, which can be morning or afternoon, depending on the time that you have worked on, avoid ingesting drinks or foods that hinder sleep as strong coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, or pepper, since it leave the person more awake and active.

These foods should preferably be eaten during the working shift to give more power, but 3 hours before the turn end, should be avoided. See a full list of these foods in: the Foods that take the sleep.

3. To ensure a quality sleep

Whenever possible, the ideal is to sleep at home and not in the place of work, seeking to prepare a dark room, quiet and comfortable, as this will help you get to sleep faster and avoids getting awakening several times while trying to sleep.

Take a relaxing bath or take a juice or tea that has soothing properties can help. Good options are passion fruit juice, chamomile tea, lavender or valerian, for example. If you do not like or don’t have the time to prepare these juices and teas, you can choose to take a natural remedy in capsules that contains these ingredients.

4. Taking melatonin

The supplement melatonin is a good option to help maintain a good night’s sleep, this supplement works by improving the quality of sleep, but does not cause sleep. Generally one tablet 3 or 5 mg before bedtime is enough to achieve a good quality sleep, but even though it can be purchased without a prescription, this should be used with caution because there may be drug interaction.

The melatonin is a good option for those who suffer with insomnia but you do not want or can not take medicines against insomnia because they may cause dependence.

5. Sleep during the shift

Some professionals, such as nurses, have the ease of being able to take a nap during the shift, and this is a possibility when one is very tired and the work allows. But when this is not possible, prepare in advance, sleeping at least 3 hours before you start work can help you stay awake.

6. Eat well

The appropriate food also is important to keep yourself awake when you need to work with. Meals should be well distributed, being harmful to stay nibbling all the time. The last meal before bedtime should be light to avoid poor digestion and the feeling of a full stomach. The first meal after waking should contain food stimulants such as chocolate or coffee and bread, or tapioca, for example.

What can happen to those who work in shifts

Those who work shifts, can be very difficult to maintain the required times to eat or sleep, and, for ,this, have higher chances of suffering with:

  • Sleep problems such as crises of insomnia or excessive sleepiness that occur due to working hours that coincide with the phase of usual sleep, which can lead to excessive use of medications to sleep;
  • Gastric problems that affect the stomach and the intestine, such as gastritis or diarrhea, because they do not have regular times for meals;
  • Delayed menstruation, due to hormonal change;
  • Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression;
  • Heart disease, such as heart attack and STROKE;
  • Type 2 Diabetes and obesity;
  • Cancer, mainly lung and breast cancer.

In addition to these consequences, the lack of rest regular increases the risk of accidents and can disrupt family life and this is why it is so important to know what to eat and what time to sleep to ensure the quality of life, decreasing all these risks.