Do You Work the Night Shift? 3 Tips to Help Your Body Adapt

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Do-You-Work-The-Night-Shift-3-Tips-to-help-your-body-adaptShift work sleep disorder is becoming more common, unfortunately. As more organizations realize the need to run 24/7 to optimize their production, night shifts are appearing in many career paths. Even remote workers may not be immune, as they may be expected to be on-call or work shifts when the office is closed.

Whether you’re a natural nighthawk or not, the night shift takes some getting used to. Many workers struggle with the transition. In some cases, the disruption to sleep becomes chronic, resulting in shift work sleep disorder.

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At Liberty Staffing, we take health and safety seriously. The health and safety of our associates is our number one priority. We would never place you out on a night shift assignment unless you requested it. If you are about to start a night shift through our agency, here are a few tips to help prevent this disorder, and help you adapt to your shift.

1. Keep Your Workplace Brightly Lit

Our circadian rhythms control our sleep-wake cycles. The body’s natural rhythm is influenced by a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin production is affected by light, which essentially sets our body’s clock to sunrise and sunset.

A lack of light tells our brains it’s nighttime. That means we should get ready to sleep, so the body increases melatonin production.

One of the best things you can do to help yourself on the night shift is work in a brightly lit space. The use of bright light will limit melatonin production, which will help you remain awake and alert.

By contrast, keep your sleeping space dark and quiet. Black out drapes could help you filter out sunlight in your bedroom. This gives your brain the signal to produce more melatonin, and should help you sleep.

2. Limit Your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it wakes you up. You might think that’s important, especially during the graveyard shift. You may feel like you need a pick-me-up to power you through the wee hours of the morning.

Too much caffeine, though, often makes it harder to sleep later. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep when you get home after work, it could be time to cut back on the coffee.

Keep an eye out for hidden caffeine as well. Some sodas, like colas, and chocolate also have caffeine in them. Energy drinks have large amounts of caffeine.

3. Don’t Delay Bedtime

Once you finish work, it can be tempting to run some errands. Once you’re in the door, you may want to watch some TV, or talk to friends.

It’s a good idea to try to go to bed as soon as you can, especially if you feel tired. Limit commuting as much as possible. You might even want to consider a job that’s closer to home for that reason.

You should also avoid activities that might increase your alertness. Stopping and running errands may help you feel accomplished, but it could leave you feeling energized, and make it harder to fall asleep when you get home.

The same is true of any activities you may engage in when you get home. Some people think watching some TV is a great way to unwind after a tough shift, but the opposite is often true. An exciting program could put you back on high alert, and bright lights interrupt your sleep-wake cycle.

If you’re not feeling tired, then it’s a good idea to engage in some relaxing activities. Try a bit of meditation or yoga. Taking a relaxing bath, or listening to soothing music can also help.

When you feel tired, it’s time to hit the hay.

Find a Job That Suits Your Lifestyle

Some people are natural nighthawks and do well with the night shift. Others have much more trouble. Whether you’re a morning person, or more of an owl, Liberty Staffing has a job that will suit your lifestyle. Get in touch with us today and discover the right work schedule for you.


Lisa Hutchinson

I started with Liberty Staffing in 2004 as the Regional Business Manager of the London office. I have over 20 years of experience in the customer service and retail sectors, as well as leadership experience including Store Management, People Development and Recruiting. In 2016, our London location moved to a larger office in order to accommodate growth of our business, which included adding a Clerical Division.

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