Fifteen percent of all Australians work on the night shift, according to Sydney Morning Herald staff writer Peta Doherty. The human body, though, has an internal “clock” that synchronises sleep and waking with the setting and rising sun.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your health. Not only will it make you sleepy on the job, but it can also put you at greater risk for accidents, ulcers, heart disease, depression, and other serious health challenges, says health journalist Katherine Kam in WebMD.
The trick to maintaining your health when you work the night shift is to get your required seven to nine hours’ sleep during the day. Here are some tips to help you snooze like a baby—even at high noon:
Light Up Your Workplace
Since the human body perks up in the presence of light, turn on as many lights as possible. Specially designed light boxes and other devices can mimic the effects of sunlight. If you have any control over your workplace’s décor, choose white or light-coloured aluminium blinds. Keep them shut so you don’t see the darkness inside. The light colour will reflect light, brightening your workplace even more. Mirrors, too, can help you maximise the light. Design professionals can help you find more ways to light up your workspace at night.
Drink Caffeinated Beverages Only at the Start of Your Shift
Load up on the coffee and tea at the start of your shift. It will help you focus on the job at hand. Don’t overdo it, though. As your shift winds down, switch to decaffeinated beverages or water. Don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day. Aim for two litres over a 24-hour period.
Wear Sunglasses on the Way Home
When your shift ends, the bright morning light may trick your body into thinking, “Time to wake up.” Help it wind down by avoiding as much bright light as possible. If you can, don’t stop at the supermarket on the way home. The brightly lit interior will stimulate your body into waking mode.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Your body will adjust better to your night shift job when you stick to a strict sleep schedule. Turn off the phone, turn off the text messages, and let your friends and family know not to drop by during the day. Get to bed at the same time every day, and your body will fall into a regular sleep/wake cycle.
Install Blockout Blinds in Your Bedroom
Even when you close your eyes, the sunlight that streams through your window reaches your brain. The connection between sunlight and wakefulness is that powerful. Blockout blinds can stop sunlight in its tracks, making your room as dark as a moonlit night. Choose a soothing colour palette for both the blinds and your bedroom to create a sanctuary for you. An awning outside your window can block the sunlight even more, giving your body the illusion that it’s night time.
If you work the night shift, don’t settle for fretful sleep during the day. To learn more about how awnings and blockout blinds can help you get the sleep you deserve, contact the professional installers at Apollo Blinds today.