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20 Tips to Help You Sleep Better on Night Shift

  1. The blue light from your phone interferes with your sleep. Use nightshift mode on your phone. Flux on your laptop
  2. Don’t get woken up by your phone, put your phone on airplane mode so your alarm will still work but you can’t get calls or messages. Make sure you have the Wi-Fi off too as some phones allow you to have it on while in airplane mode but if it is on you will be able to receive iMessages and Facebook messages.
  3. Look out for caffeine. Caffeine is great for staying awake during your shift but make sure you don’t accidentally or deliberately have any too close to your bed time as it can definitely leave you lying in bed unable to sleep. Make sure to check the labels of your food and drink for hidden caffeine. Common things that can be hiding caffeine can be weight loss pills, tea, some painkillers, chocolates and fizzy drinks.
  4. Try not to work out right before you go to sleep as physical exercise will get your blood flowing and stimulate your mind. Try doing some relaxing exercise like yoga or tai chi to unwind before going to sleep instead.
  5. Avoid talking about or thinking about stressful things that may keep you up before bed. Put them aside until you wake up or have finished your round of nights. Try the next tip if you still have something bothering you.
  6. If you have something or a lot of things on your mind that are keeping you awake and you can’t sleep because of them, take out a pen and paper and write them all down. Try to write every single thought, idea or thing down that is keeping you awake. This may not work every time or for everything but quite often it will make your problems seem a lot smaller when you see them all written out and will also allow you to forget things as you know they are written down. This may sound silly but if you have something on your mind that is keeping you up give it a try.
  7. If you have written everything down and still can’t sleep, try meditation, having a relaxing bath, reading a relaxing book or listening to relaxing music. You can also try counting your breathes until you fall asleep.
  8. Try to avoid alcohol before bed. It may work at getting you to sleep, however once its affects wear off you will likely find yourself waking up or having a much more restless sleep.
  9. Instead of alcohol try a drink to help induce sleep. Chamomile, lavender and valerian in hot water is one recipe you can try.
  10. Lower your lights before bed. Darkness and lower light levels signal to your brain to produce melatonin, the hormone that brings on sleep. If you are reading before bed, swap your lamp for a warm, low wattage bulb. If your shift finishes before the sun comes up it will be a lot easier to fall asleep before it does.
  11. Contrary to the above tip, if your shift finishes after the sun is up, you may find it better to manage your round by staying up for a few hours even if you are really tired like you are after your first night of the round. Everybody is different but I find that by staying awake after my shifts I won’t wake up as early, and the following nights I will start getting tired later in the morning. If you go to sleep straight after your shift you will likely wake up earlier and start getting tired towards the end of your shift again, however if you stay up, your sleep cycle will become later so you wake up later and get tired later (hopefully once your shift has finished and you have already driven home.
  12. Block out noise. People walking around the house, banging doors, cars, pets, lawnmowers can all chip away at your sleep. You can try our earplugs which we designed specifically for sleeping as well as having some white noise like a fan or air conditioning turned on, or a white noise app playing on your phone.
  13. Keep your room cool. It can be hot trying to sleep during the day, especially in Australia, but the optimal temperature for sleep is around 18deg C or 65deg F.
  14. Replace your bed and pillow. Replacing your bed can be expensive but if you can afford to it is worth it. We spend about a third of our lives in bed. A new bed can not only help you sleep better but also reduce joint and back pain. If you can’t afford to replace your bed, even just buying the right pillow can make a huge difference. If you are in Australia, I recommend Pillow Talk as they allow you to try the different pillows on their bed to help you find the right one.
  15. Wear socks. Some random study in 1999 revealed that having warm hands and feet can result in you getting to sleep faster.
  16. Paint your bedroom a nice tranquil color. Avoid gloss finished, go for matte instead.
  17. Try aromatherapy. Studies have shown that a sniff of lavender before bed results in a deeper sleep. It has also been shown to improve sleep in women with insomnia.
  18. Try a melatonin supplement. Your brain converts serotonin into melatonin when it is dark, however when it is light it does not do this. Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep, so supplementing melatonin could be considered a natural way to induce sleep. While you may or may not need a script to buy melatonin, and it can be considered natural, you should still consult with a professional. This is not medical advice.
  19. Up your magnesium intake. Research suggests that magnesium levels help our body to sleep all the way through the night. You can supplement it or eat magnesium rich foods before bed like pumpkin seeds.
  20. Reduce light. It’s been mentioned a couple times already in these tips but it really is the most important part of getting a good sleep. The hormones that tell our body to sleep are only produced when it is dark. You can unplug all your electronics, get block out curtains, cover your windows with tinfoil, and of course get yourself the high quality sleeping mask we designed specifically to seal out all light comfortably for nightshift workers.

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