Sleep and Shift Work: How to Make the Two Fit Together

Sleep Shift

and Stay Healthy

Shift work can present a challenge to getting adequate sleep, especially when you work varying hours, work overtime, and work more than one shift in a twenty-four hour period. Yet, it is possible to make sleep and shift work fit together, and remain healthy and productive in your work shift. The key is to recognize the fluidity of the situation, acknowledge your unique needs, and make those needs a priority.

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Health Effects of Lack of Sleep

Getting too little sleep can be a serious problem. When you don’t get enough rest, you may experience:

  • Mood issues, such as depression or irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Performance issues
  • Impaired judgment
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Decreased immunity

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue, and a lack of quality sleep due to shift work can cause health problems. It can also be difficult to make up for the lack of sleep during your off days, especially if you’re working multiple shifts or overtime.

Tricks for Managing Sleep & Shift Work

It’s important to create an environment for sleep that is conducive to rest, no matter the time of day or night. Here are a few tips for making sure you can get the rest you need:

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both of these substances can interfere with sleep.
  • Stick to a schedule. Try to keep the same wake-up time even on days off, and establish a regular routine.
  • Take short naps. If you have to work multiple shifts, consider napping between shifts to help you stay alert and focused.
  • Block out light and noise. To get the best rest, make sure your sleeping environment is as dark and quiet as possible. Consider using blackout curtains and a noise machine if necessary.

These suggestions will help you get the restful and quality sleep you need to remain healthy and productive.

The Bottom Line

Shift work can be a challenge when it comes to getting enough and quality sleep. To remain healthy, it’s important to prioritize sleep and seek out ways to make it fit with your shift. Consider setting a sleep routine, taking naps, and creating a sleep environment that is conducive to rest.

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