Night shift is always a challenge and can have a dramatic effect on your overall health. Most people are extremely sleep deprived. They also do not know how to adjust to this new shift and survive and thrive during while working this shift. There are definitely challenges and the need for support from those you live with. There are a few tricks to help you get started.
- Sunglasses are your friends. Light exposure as you are driving home will stimulate your brain that it is time to stay awake so invest in a good pair of dark sunglasses so you do not get too much light exposure.
- A daylight simulation light that is at least 10,000 luxe will help your brain to say it is time to be awake. One to two hours of light exposure when you wake up works wonders for your alertness. You use it while getting ready; just keep the light in your peripheral vision.
- I always kept a sign next to my doorbell warning that I was a night shift worker and to not wake me unless it was an emergency and that worked well.
- Eating is your friend and your worst enemy. When you are sleep deprived it is difficult to make correct decisions about what to eat. You will crave more high carbohydrate foods because it will increase your sugar levels. The jolt is what you are craving. If instead you realize and plan for these cravings by having some fruit or oatmeal you will avoid the weight gain that is usually associated the change to night shift.
- You will be cold at around 3am so plan ahead and have a sweater or sweatshirt. This is part of the body’s circadian rhythm and will just be part of the experience.
- Do not sit in a dark room during the night. You may find that you get headaches from sitting in a room with light but if you are in the dark room your body will say it is time to sleep and release Melatonin. Light is your friend while working at night.
Movement is also your friend. Walk around, move around, do jumping jacks or squats. Anything that causes you to take deep breathes and raise your heart rate will help your concentration.
As you are adjusting to this new shift you will find that there are tricks for creating routines, working during the shift and how to work with your family and friends to be enjoy your life.