Safety Tips Lone workers Wellness

Help shift workers get better sleep

Photo: halbergman/gettyimages

Night shift workers typically get one to four fewer hours of sleep a day than day shift workers, the American College of Chest Physicians says. They’re also often unable to remain asleep when attempting to return to a “normal” schedule on off days.

The combination of insufficient sleep, insomnia and poor sleep quality can lead to shift work sleep disorder. The Cleveland Clinic says the disorder affects 10% to 40% of people who work outside the traditional 9 a.m.-5 p.m. shift.

ACCP has tips to decrease the risk of sleep work shift disorder:

  • Take a 30-minute nap and drink caffeine before your shift.
  • If able, time naps around periods of increased sleepiness, such as between 2 and 5 p.m. before a 7 p.m. shift.
  • Consume low doses of caffeine during the first half of the shift but avoid stimulants during the second half.
  • Wear ultraviolet-blocking goggles on the ride home after a shift.
  • After a shift, sleep in a darkened room or wear an eye mask. Block outside noise by using earplugs, turning off your phone ringer and alarms, and using a do-not-disturb sign.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry.
  • Don’t drive drowsy.

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