Light is the single biggest factor when it comes to trying to get a good sleep, especially on night shift. Your body naturally produces the sleep hormone melatonin when it is dark, and converts it back to serotonin when it is light. Reducing light during the day is important if you want to get a good sleep during the day, however making your bedroom completely dark is also very difficult during the day which is why it is so hard to sleep during the day when working night shifts.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce light so that your body can naturally produce melatonin and go to sleep when you are working night shifts.
A big emitter of light that is often overlooked is your electronic devices, we will start with those as they are easier and emit more light than you might think, we will then move into tips to block out sunlight in your bedroom so you can sleep while working nightshift.
- Eliminate the light that any electronic devices in your bedroom emit. You can put tape over the little lights and turn any off that you are not using before you go to sleep.
- Reduce the blue light your electronic screens emit when using them before you go to sleep. The blue light your electronics emit is like UV light, which stops your body from producing the sleep hormone melatonin. The best thing you can do before going to sleep is to not use them, but if you are going to use them before you go to sleep then there are special apps and settings you can use to reduce the blue light your devices emit before you go to sleep. If you have an iPhone use the nightshift mode. If you have an android there are apps you can install. There is also a free app for computers called f.lux which will do this for your computer.
- If you are reading before you go to sleep, avoid reading on backlit devices.
- If you are using a lamp to read, replace the bulb with a warm, low wattage bulb. I would opt for an old school bulb as the new energy saving bulbs tend to emit a much whiter, UV light.
- Get block out curtains. These can be expensive and you probably won’t want to or be able to do this if you are living in a rental property but they do block out a lot of light. If you work nightshifts long term and are not moving anytime soon then these would be a good investment to help you sleep better when you are working nightshift.
- Cover your windows with tinfoil to block out light in your bedroom. I have never tried this myself but have heard of a lot of people who do it when they work nightshifts. I have also stayed in rooms at work that have had the windows covered with tinfoil and it does block out light very effectively. This could be a good alternative if you are renting or don’t want to buy block out curtains. While you will save money, I imagine you could waste a lot of time. I have heard of people using shampoo or water in a spray bottle to stick the tinfoil to their windows. It sounds very messy and time consuming but again, it does block out light so you can sleep better.
- Paint your walls a dark, tranquil color, making sure to use a matte paint and not a gloss paint. This might be a bit of an extreme tip, however it is more for you if you are already planning on painting your bedroom. Picking a color that will make your room appear darker and easier to sleep in would be something worth considering to help you sleep better while you work nightshift.
- Put a towel or something similar up against your bedroom door to block the light out from coming in underneath it.
- Prepare in advance. If you know you are going to be working night shift, the day before you start, try as many of these tips to reduce light in you room as you can so you can sleep better when your night shifts start. By preparing in advance, during the day you will be able to see all the little gaps where light gets in and cover them as best you can. You will be surprised once the bulk of the light has been blocked out, just how many sneaky places it can get in and interfere with your sleep, and what a difference it makes.
- If you can’t be bothered covering your windows with tinfoil or spending $100s on block out curtains, or if you've tried all these tips and you can still see that there is light in your bedroom, get one of our sleeping masks. After doing step 9 I’m sure you will notice just how much light is still in your room during the day which will interfere with your ability to get the best sleep possible while working nightshifts. As mentioned above, light will stop your body from producing the sleep hormone melatonin and instead your body will be converting your melatonin into serotonin.
Our sleeping masks were designed specifically for nightshift workers. They are molded to comfortably fit your face and seal out all light. If you really want to get the best possible sleep while working night shifts, then they are a small investment for a very easy way to get a much better sleep. You can find out more about there here: