What steps to take to stay active during night shifts?

What steps to take to stay active during night shifts?

It is your first-night shift job and you are scared of not being productive enough to start your first day! Well, what do you do for stay active? There are many sectors that operate in accordance with global time zones. Hence they expect the employees to work accordingly in different shifts.

In what ways are truck drivers, air traffic controllers, emergency medical technicians, and doctors similar?  Night shifts are standard for many of them. Night shifts are tough for everyone, regardless of whether they are early birds or late sleepers. There are workers working in various changes who form part of this population. 

Only a few of the late-sleepers prefer this schedule because, for others, it is a tough fight between their biological clock and their work. Many people have trouble staying awake due to sleep problems, working night shifts, or pulling all-nighters. While adequate sleep is the best way to function during the day, many people still look for stimulants to help them stay alert in the classroom, at the office, or on the road.

As you know our body is set according to a circadian rhythm directed by the sun’s rays which helps us to regulate our body functions. It is accustomed to the original system that your body follows. Therefore, it might be challenging to acclimate to working the night shift for the first time. It may take some time to adjust to the new schedule, as your body is hardwired to be up during the day and asleep at night.

Long periods of inactivity are a reality of the night shift, and it can be challenging to maintain mental and physical acuity while your body readjusts to the new routine. If you find yourself struggling in your work, lack focus and counting minutes to just crawl into bed, You need to alter your routine and your sleep timings. This is manageable after you get a hang of it. However, you can work the night shift and be healthy, which will help you care for others.

Did you know, the night shift may affect our body’s repair of DNA damage from normal cellular processes? And also Possible involvement of melatonin suppression, the hormone responsible for controlling the circadian rhythms of the body.

Since our bodies aren’t designed to be active late at night, many people struggle with a wide range of health problems. Health issues like: 

  • Fatigue
  • Various sleep disorders
  • Moodiness, irritability 

It is essential to stay awake throughout the shift as it will affect work performance. It is a major worry that everyone faces who works in shifts. 

Let’s dive into the different ways to stay awake during night shifts. 

night sleep hygiene
  1. Let the place be illuminated

It is important to work in a well-lit place. I am stressing about this because it affects our psychic as we are well-versed to feel drowsy in a dark room. The sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is secreted when it gets dark. Because it aids in controlling our natural sleep-wake cycles, it is crucial. 

This melatonin that is produced will make you feel tired and sleepy. And the whole focus, productivity and motivation cycle declines. So make sure your workplace is well-lit. 

  1. Manage sleep patterns 

Sleep is the one, who is playing the magic all along. All these charades are for you to get proper sleep. Shift workers like you are already disturbing your regular sleep cycle. To function at their best, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. When people don’t get enough shut-eye, they get “sleep debt.” Sleep debt can only be repaid by making up for lost slumber as soon as feasible.

Maintaining a minimal amount of sleep debt while working at night requires careful attention to one’s sleep schedule during the day. Light, noise, and temperature all contribute to less restful sleep during the day than they do at night.

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Make sure you know some big no-no’s when it comes to your sleep

  • Do not delay to sleep
  • Make out sufficient time for your sleep
  • Have plenty of food and fluids before you sleep. 
  • It’s not a good idea to smoke or drink alcohol right before bed.
  1. Regulate your diet 

Diet plays a crucial role in the overall regulation of the human body. So maintaining a diet is always going to be one of the solutions to every abnormality that we face. Fix your diet and you are already halfway through it. When the body’s natural 24-hour cycle is disrupted, metabolism slows down. Night shift workers are 23 more likely to be overweight or obese than daytime workers due to poor eating habits and the disruption of the body clock, which increases the risk of metabolic syndrome.

  • Maintain the same eating patterns 
  • Avoid having extremely heavy meals 
  • Choose easy-to-digest food
  • Stay hydrated. 
  1. Practice power naps 

Many people disregard the system of power naps. However, it is a fruitful method. Although it is recommended to get some sleep before beginning a shift, it may be necessary to nap during your break if you want to stay alert and watchful throughout your shift.

The night nap should not exceed 45 min. Nap times should be monitored to avoid rousing people from a deep sleep. It takes longer to be alert and not feel refreshed after waking from a deep sleep, a phenomenon known as sleep inertia.

  1. Cluster night shifts 

When working the night shift, it’s helpful to keep the same shift pattern and sleep schedule for as long as possible. However, some people might not be able to make use of this. If you want to get back on a regular sleep schedule after working overnights all week, try going to bed early in the morning and staying up until a more reasonable hour of the night. Get plenty of shut-eye over the next few days. On your last night of peace before returning to work, you should stay up as late as possible, sleep in, and perhaps even take a long nap.

  1. Maintain your caffeine intake 

You may feel like having a caffeinated drink may boost focus and increase productivity. That might not be permanent. Reduce your caffeine intake, especially from tea and coffee. To avoid the stimulant affecting sleep, people should cease ingesting caffeine around six hours before going to bed. It may take some trial and error to figure out which strategies work best for a specific person, given that everyone is different. 

  1. Practice good sleeping hygiene

I cannot stress enough about this but most of us unknowingly ignore this. Keep a regular sleep schedule and make your bedroom a restful retreat by doing things like reading or listening to music before bed.  This can prevent shift work sleep disorder, a circadian rhythm issue that is frequent among those who work overnight shifts and is associated with insomnia and daytime sleepiness. 

Some basic tips while sleeping

  • Keep the atmosphere cool
  • Maintain a closed and minimum light in the room
  • Inform your households about your routine for a better understanding
  • Do not oversleep 
  1. Exercise well

When you work in shifts you are vulnerable to certain heart diseases. Hence to maintain and keep a healthy heart. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is crucial. A well-rounded fitness program that incorporates cardio, strength, and flexibility training can lower your risk of heart disease. And other long-term diseases; also aid in weight management, boost spirits, and sharpen the mind.

Ideally, exercise time should not be near your sleeping time as that will again disrupt your current sleep patterns. 

  1. Practice a healthy living 

In this busy world, everyone is worrying about the future and financial needs. Especially people who work in shifts can also have some psychological impact on them. You should inculcate some healthy practices like Yoga and meditation. It will assist you in focusing your efforts and maintaining composure amidst the mayhem. It will buy you some time for introspection and gathering your thoughts. Deep breathing like exercises increases blood oxygen levels in the body. It reduces blood pressure and heart rate, which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. 

Now that you’re prepared for success, you can handle difficult situations with composure and appreciate the interpersonal connections you make while working the night shift.

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