If you are a night shift locum or often rotate shifts, you may be at risk of shift work sleep disorder. Unfortunately, making it difficult to have sufficient sound sleep and being productive.
To reduce the side effects of working irregular hours, some vital adjustments must be done to our every day living. In other words, turning the days into nights.
When you get sufficient sleep, your well-being, health, and work improve. Sleep and quality job performance go hand in hand, it promotes physical recovery in the body.
7 EFFECTIVE TIPS TO HELP SHIFT LOCUMS SLEEP BETTER
If working shift causes sleep deprivation and stress, thereby affecting your work performance as a locum and general wellbeing. Here are seven tips to help in improving your sleep;
- CREATE A GOOD SLEEP ENVIRONMENT: Creating a good sleep environment can significantly affect how well and long you sleep. Remember these tips when creating a good sleep environment;
- Keep the room cool.
- Make your room as dark as possible.
- Make your environment as quiet as possible.
- Consider wearing a sleep mask and earplugs.
2. TAKE SHORT NAP WHEN YOU CAN: If you find yourself dosing off during the day, consider taking a powerful nap. Taking a 10-20 minutes nap at work can give you the boost of alertness you need to become productive.
To be honest, a transition in your sleeping habits won’t happen overnight. However, with practice and patience you would find the best sleep routine that is beneficial to your work and health.
3. AVOID CAFFEINE: Caffeine keeps you awake and gives a quick boost of energy. Nevertheless, it stays in the system for hours long after you feel the effects.
To combat the effect of caffeine, it is advisable that you drink a lot of water. That way the caffeine is flushed out of your system and you’re able to take your beauty sleep.
4. DEVELOP A SLEEP SCHEDULE: When setting up a night shift sleep schedule, it is crucial to be consistent. Setting an alarm for the same time each day can be a very good starting point, but that’s not all, following through is as vital.
Endeavour to go to bed as soon as possible after your shift, so that you don’t end up staying awake all through the day. Keep to your sleep schedule, even on your off days.
5. GET SOME SUNLIGHT: Try to spend at least 30 minutes in the sun when you’re not working. You can engage in activities like walking in the park, exercise, or just sit and read a book outdoors.
Getting sufficient sunlight will help in providing your body with the Vitamin D it needs to keep healthy.
6. EAT HEALTHY: If you work the night shift regularly as a locum, try eating the same healthy meal you would eat during the day. Choose meals that are light and easy to digest, in order to avoid feeling drowsy.
Eat fruits, vegetables, avoid sugary meals and drink a lot of water (stop several hours before bed). When you find the best diet that works for you, take these meals with you to work.
7. TURN OFF ELECTRONICS: Having poor sleep can be just as bad a having no sleep at all, and this can be caused by looking at a bright light for long in a dark place.
Put your phone on do-not-disturb, or turn it off completely to avoid eye strain and headaches. Constant exposure to white bright light from electronic devices can make it difficult to sleep before or after a night shift.
HOW SHIFTS WORK MAY AFFECT YOUR SLEEP AND WELLBEING
Locums working consistent shifts are prone to insufficient sleep and fatigue during waking hours. Most night shift schedules do not match an individual’s circadian rhythms.
The circadian rhythms are the appetite, body’s temperature, and sleeping patterns of a person within a 24 hour period. Circadian interruptions are common with shift workers.
Shift work disorder may develop when the natural sleep and waking times are significantly affected. This can lead to insomnia and excessive sleepiness during working hours for months.
In addition to being fatigued, night shift locums are prone to make mistakes or have accidents at work. In other words, lack of sufficient sleep for night shift locums may lead to drowsy driving or car crashes, especially on the way home from work.
It is possible to retrain the body to function efficiently at night shifts while resting during the day. However, if this is not done properly or done at all, it may begin to affect your health.
Below are some effects of insufficient sleep to your wellbeing;
Working the night shift exposes your body to light when it expects it to be dark. The switch in light and dark suppresses melatonin production and release.
Melatonin is in charge of controlling your sleep and wake cycle. However, the reduction in melatonin means you may not be able to achieve deep sleep or get enough sleep for your body to repair itself.
The hormones in our bodies are governed by our metabolism. For instance, let’s take the leptin hormone for example. Leptin is vital for regulating our insulin level, weight and blood sugar.
Working the night shift may interfere with the production and circulation of this vital hormone, which in turn may lead to health challenges such as obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and heart diseases.
Working the night shift means working against your body’s natural desire to want to shut down for the day, you may be able to stay awake and mobile.
However, it is easy to drift into loose focus, productivity and attention to certain task that may require your complete attention. Hence, resulting to a high risk of workplace injury.