Sleep Hacks for Shift Workers
For shift workers, it quickly becomes clear the human body likes being awake when it’s sunny out and sleeping when it’s dark out. Shift work, unfortunately, often requires the opposite.
Here are a few tricks shift workers use to get the best sleep they can:
Reynolds Wrap Your Sleep Environment
If you have a basement, setting up a subterranean sleep cave is one of the best ways to create a sleep-friendly environment. Basements are naturally cool and they are much less susceptible to intruding daylight.
But if you can’t sleep in a basement, fret not. You don’t need to buy a new house or begin excavating. You can create a dark, cool environment in any bedroom for about $3.99. All it takes is a roll of aluminum foil and some tape.
Tear foil off the roll in strips and tape it to the windows. I still recommend covering this with blackout curtains, but you’ll find that the foil blocks far more light than even the best blackout curtains. As an added bonus, the light the foil reflects will also help decrease the heat that sneaks into your bedroom.
As an added bonus, if the foil-lined window happens to make people think you are trying to keep alien mind-control waves out, they’ll be less likely to interrupt your sleep.
Take a Caffeine Vacation
Caffeine is the basic fuel of the criminal justice and healthcare systems. Without caffeine, crimes would not be investigated, prisoners would be allowed to wander the streets, and there would be no nighttime doctors or nurses to mitigate the carnage.
Unfortunately for shift workers and all who depend upon them, the body develops a tolerance to caffeine. One writer describes a caffeine tolerance reset as “terrible but effective.” It’s a fair to describing any cold turkey detox, much less your vital professional fuel. After a week, your caffeine tolerance should be back to where it was. Then, rather than returning to three pots per night, you should be able to enjoy the same effects from doses on the order of a cup or two.
To avoid the “terrible” part falling on a work week, plan to do a caffeine reset during your vacation. The daylight schedule should compensate for the lack of caffeine, and you’ll return to work unusually refreshed. Your coworkers will think the glow is from your week of sunlight, but you’ll know better.
Maybe it’s the extra money. Maybe it’s the insulation from the job. Whatever the reason, the bosses always look better rested than those of us who actually do the job. So, if you want to sleep better at night, start studying for those promotion tests.
Coffee or Red Bull? Leave a comment to let us know how you prefer to stay up at night.
Suggested tags: shift work, family, sleep, caffeine, life hacks