Tips for avoiding shift-work sleepiness

March 1, 2013

Shift work may be a fact of life for many U.S. workers, but the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation warns that such work can have serious repercussions. Shift work can disrupt a person’s circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural rhythm of energy throughout the day. This can result in poor sleep and fatigue, which can lead to injuries and incidents on the job. According to the bureau, second-shift workers are 15.2 percent more likely to be injured than first-shift employees, and third-shift employees are 28 percent more likely to be injured.

BWC recommends shift workers:

  • Create a bedtime ritual, such as taking a warm bath to relax.
  • Avoid stressful activities before bed.
  • Keep their bedroom cool, as it is easier to sleep in a cool environment.
  • Install light-blocking or sound-absorbing curtains in the bedroom.
  • Wear earplugs or use a white-noise machine to block out disruptive noises.
  • Avoid caffeine beginning five hours before your regular sleep time.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Do not go to bed too full or too hungry. If needed, eat a light snack free of high amounts of sugar or fats before you go to sleep.