Tips for Adjusting to Night Shift Jobs

If you are experiencing a difficult time adjusting to night shift jobs, you may be like many others who struggle with getting enough sleep as a result of this work arrangement. Starting a night shift job can be a challenging time when your body must learn to adjust to the changes in lifestyle and sleep schedules. For many, it can take weeks or even months to start getting used to sleeping during the day and taking care of responsibilities around a night shift. However, it is possible to survive this transition using the body's natural rhythms. Read on to learn some helpful tips for adjusting to night shift jobs.

Take Advantage of Natural Tendencies

One of the reasons why many people choose to work night shifts is because of being naturally more alert and creative in the evenings. "Night-owls" are able to work better at night and often stay up later than other people to get things done more effectively.

While you may, or may not, fall under this category, you can teach your body to function better at night by taking advantage of your "circadian" rhythm. Your rhythm is a natural clock that your body has. Each day, stay up an extra thirty minutes to reset your time clock and within a couple of weeks, your body will learn to adjust. By the time you start your new job, you will feel better and be able to work a full shift without getting that groggy feeling. Upon returning home, stick to a set bedtime and allow your body at least seven to eight continuous hours of sleep.

Make Your Bedroom Sleep Friendly

Instead of allowing full light into your room, get light filtering shades and curtains that will block out the sunlight during the day. Or, use a sleep mask to keep out the light. Install a ceiling fan or use a room oscillating fan to create a soft breeze and "white noise" in your bedroom.

If you prefer the sounds of nature, consider purchasing a sound machine or get an alarm clock that includes recorded nature sounds. Make sure you have a comfortable bed, bedding and pillows to give your body a soft place to rest peacefully. Remove any and all stimuli from your room, such as the television, phones or computers. This will help improve the chances that you will be able to settle down faster and stay asleep.

Relax Before Napping

If you are the kind of person that comes home with too much energy and cannot get to sleep right away, you will need to develop a relaxation routine that will get your body prepared for rest.

Start by eating a light snack with sleep inducing chemicals, such as milk with cereal, chamomile tea or a turkey sandwich. Then, wear comfortable sleepwear and relax to the sounds of some soft music. Sometimes a hot bath or shower can also help you get settled down. Avoid drinking alcohol or having a cigarette before bedtime as this can actually work against you.

Once you start to feel tired, head to your bedroom where you can lay down and start breathing evenly, letting each part of your body relax, from your toes to your shoulders. By the time you get to your head, you will most likely be asleep.