Tips for Shift Workers: Sleeping During the Day
Around 15 percent of U.S. workers maintain a shift work schedule. While shift work helps keep factories, retail stores, hospitals and other places of employment productive and operational around the clock, it also contributes to poor sleep quality in workers. Often, they struggle to get sufficient and quality sleep.
Professions Prone to Sleep Disorders Due to Shift Work
Here is a look at various professions that increase your risk for sleep deprivation.
1. Health Care
- Health aids
Working shifts, being on call and providing round-the-clock care is extremely disruptive to normal sleeping patterns.
As much as 75 percent of all healthcare providers working alternating shifts deal with fatigue while working their shifts and their lack of sleep is closely linked with a higher risk of medical errors.
Transportation industry jobs have also been linked with being a high sleep problem risk. In this group are:
- Rail transportation workers
- Air traffic controllers
- Long-haul truck drivers
Individuals employed in the transportation sector are charged with not only their personal safety but the safety of others. These workers are also often required to work through the night and work long hours which disrupts their circadian rhythms (wake/sleep pattern cycles).
For example, pilots frequently have to adapt to the different time zones which can cause disorientation. Because of this, there are strict regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration regarding how long a pilot’s shift can be and the amount of rest time they’re required to take in between flights.
One of the most high-risk occupations is that of a commercial truck driver. A clear contributing factor in how many injuries and fatalities accidents cause is sleep deprivation. In the last six years, there has been a 17 percent increase in truck driver fatalities despite efforts by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and other advocacy groups to treat driver fatigue. When truck drivers are tired behind the wheel, it is hard for them to stay alert, react quickly and make safe decisions no matter how many years of experience they have under their belts.
3. Firefighters and First Responders
Emergency personnel experience high rates of sleep disorders and disruptions. A study in 2014 the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published found that out of 7,000 firefighters studied, 37 percent screened positive for some type of significant sleep disorder.
Other professional occupations typically involve shift work:
- Serving workers and food preparation
- Security guards
- Meteorology professionals
- Production and manufacturing workers
- Casino workers
- Public utility workers
- Death care and funeral professionals
Tips to Help Shift Workers Sleep Better
Below are 7 helpful tips for shift workers to improve their sleep quality.
1. Get a Supportive and Comfortable Mattress
Having the right mattress can help you obtain a good night’s sleep which leads to feeling refreshed and well-rested when you wake up. A quality mattress is an investment you won’t regret.
2. Keep a Well-Ventilated Sleeping Space
Open doors and windows helped decrease levels of carbon dioxide and improve airflow and ventilation which resulted in better quality of sleep for the study’s participants.
3. When Possible: Privacy and Quiet
Make your bedroom as quiet and private as possible. You are more likely to hear noises during the day from both outside and inside your home that can disrupt your sleep easily. Try using a fan or other white noise machines to block sounds. You can also try wearing earplugs too.
4. Avoid Stimulant Drinks
While coffee or other caffeinated beverages are good at the beginning of your shift to help improve your alertness, it is not a good idea to drink it later on in your shift or before bedtime since it can interfere with your sleep.
5. Darken Your Bedroom
Use darkening curtains or shades to darken your room and make it conducive to sleeping.
6. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Many individuals believe alcohol will help them sleep; however, it actually has the opposite effect. It might initially help you fall asleep, but it can disturb your sleep and cause you to wake up too early.
7. Stay Cool: Turn Your AC Up or Heat Down
A cooler room is best for sleeping. Many individuals like to set their thermostats higher during the day and lower at night. But, if you are forced to sleep during the day because of your occupation, you may want adjust your thermostat so your house stay’s cooler during your daytime sleep.
Learn why covering up with Weighted Blankets Can Help You Sleep Better.
Contact Sleep Health Solutions
Sleep Health Solutions offers screening and treatment for sleep disorders to help improve your energy levels, quality of life and overall health with better sleep. If you’re constantly struggling with poor quality sleep, we can provide you with a comfortable, safe and compassionate environment where we can diagnose your sleep problem and provide you with effective treatment. Contact Sleep Health Solutions today at (330) 923-0228 for more information or a consultation.