Sleep Tips for Night Shift Workers

Working nights can make finding time to sleep a difficult task, particularly in the summer months. Whether you’re a fireman, hospital worker, police officer or you work in one of the many other night jobs, it’s more than likely you’ll be forced to sleep during daylight hours. This can prevent you from getting the necessary amount of sleep that you need to fully function. 

At Bed Guru, we’ve decided to make your life easier. We’ve compiled a guide giving you all the tips night workers need to get a good sleep, ensuring you’re raring to go for your shift and can fully enjoy any free time you have. 

1 - Stick to a Schedule

Sticking to a schedule allows you to get into a routine and develop a sleeping pattern that your body can adjust to. Having a shift pattern is important, this then allows you to develop a sleep pattern. Once you have a sleep pattern in place you’ll see a vast improvement in your alertness and ability when on shift.

2 - Create the perfect sleep environment

There’s nothing worse than returning home to a messy bed or a mattress that’s well past it’s sell by date. You need to create yourself the perfect environment to ensure you have a comfy sleep. Find the ideal bedding and allow yourself to fully relax and unwind. 

During the summer, block out any unnecessary sunlight and try and keep your room as cool as possible. You may be sleeping during the warmer hours of the day, so perhaps invest in a fan. 

You may also be interested in our Seasonal Guide for Bedding, showing you the best bedding to use during the hot summer months. 

3 - Try blackout curtains

Blackout curtains were used during the war to stop light escaping from bedrooms which could draw attention to enemy bomber planes. Nowadays, they’re utilised to stop light entering a room instead. They create the illusion of nighttime, so if you’re forced to sleep during the day then they may give you the help you need to get that all important shut-eye. 

4 - Limit how much caffeine your drink

Towards the end of your shift, it’s likely all you’ll want is a coffee or an energy drink to give you that much needed energy boost. However, this is exactly what you need to avoid. 

A cup of coffee at the start of your shift will help to promote alertness. Drinking coffee later on in your shift, however, could prevent you from getting to sleep because you’ll still feel alert. Try and stick to water, keeping yourself hydrated but not giving you an energy kick at the wrong time. 

5 - Set your phone to silent whilst you sleep

This isn’t a tip just for night workers but it’s incredibly important you have no unnecessary distractions whilst you try and sleep. You can also ask your family and friends to simply not message you but setting your phone to silent will ensure your phone is not a distraction. 

6 - Avoid long commutes

If you can, try and avoid the amount of time it takes to get back from work as this is a precious time that could be used for sleeping. Try and work as close to home as you possibly can, limiting the amount of travel that you need to do. 

7 - Don’t drive, take public transport

This is more for your safety and the safety of those around you. The more tired you get, the more you lose your senses and awareness of what’s going on around you. Taking public transport gives you a bit of time to unwind and relax before you get home, ensuring you’re well and truly ready to dive into bed. 

8 - When you have the chance to sleep, make sure you do! 

When you return home from your night shift, make sure you get as much sleep as possible. Although that Netflix programme may seem tempting, save it for your day off. You generally need between 7-8 hours of sleep to fully function, so that needs to be your aim. If it’s still dark outside, take this as your chance to drop off to sleep with ease. 

9 - Stick to a balanced diet

The timing and the quality of your meals can have a huge impact on the amount of sleep you get. Try and avoid fatty foods, in particular spicy foods that will see you heading to the toilet rather than your bed! It’s important to avoid sugary foods as they will provide you with an unwanted energy boost. 

10 - Maintain physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle

Moderate exercise before starting to work ensures that you remain awake and alert when on shift. Exercising after your shift will make it difficult for you to rest when you get back as your adrenaline will be high. Make sure you exercise and keep fit but do it at the right time. 

You also need to try and reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol is notorious for making sleep difficult, so try not to have a drink before you go to bed, even if you have had a particularly tough shift! 

We hope our tips and advice have helped you and you get the best sleep possible. If you need any further help and guidance then feel free to get in touch with one of our dedicated customer services team.