How to Change Sleep Schedule for Night Shift
If you are about to switch work shifts, it is important to keep good sleeping habits to ensure good quality of sleep. Sleep doesn’t only affect your mood, it also affects your health. A change in your sleeping schedule, especially one as drastic as switching from the day shift to the night shift, can cause significant sleep problems.
If you have switched to the night shift and are struggling with sleep, pay attention to what you do before and after your work shift. Working the night shift can harm our health over time, so it is crucial to keep proper sleeping habits.
To avoid sleeping problems, find a sleep-wake schedule that works for you and stick to it. Visit Sleep Connection to get more ideas and products that can help you sleep. This article explains how to change sleep schedule for night shift and provides a guide for changing your sleep schedule to the night shift.
How to change sleep schedule for night shift
The best way to change your sleep schedule for the night shift is to make the change gradually. If you have a few days before your work shift changes, use that time to alter your sleep schedule by two or three hours at a time. There are some other people who focus on changing their sleeping pattern to polyphasic sleeping schedule.
For example, each day before you begin working the night shift, get up two hours later than you did the day before and go to bed two hours later. If you only have a couple of days to get accustomed to your new schedule, try adjusting your sleep schedule by three hours.
If you do not have time to adjust your schedule slowly, take long naps before your shift. If you are wide awake before you need to be at work, dim the lights and play calming music to help you fall asleep.
Darkening your room will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Best sleep schedule for 3rd shift
The best sleep schedule for the 3rd shift depends on your preferences and sleeping habits. Most people do better sleeping seven to nine hours after their night shift is over. It is best to avoid stimulating activities that will keep you alert and awake during the hours after your shift.
Do not nap before your shift. Napping makes us groggy, and you want to be awake and alert before your work shift. Instead of getting in a twenty- or thirty-minute nap before you go to work, try doing activities that will keep you awake.
Sticking to a regular eating pattern can help you stick to your new schedule. Try to eat light meals more frequently rather than large meals two or three times a day.
How to change sleep schedule from night shift to day
Switching back to day shifts after working nights for a few weeks can take some time. After you have spent days getting on the night shift sleep schedule, getting back to your usual day shift sleep schedule can be challenging.
If you have a few days to adjust your schedule slowly, start sleeping for shorter periods after your shift and longer periods before your shift. Use the time in between to get natural sunlight, exercise, and mental stimulation. Start running errands in the middle of the day to get used to working the day shift.
If you do not have time to slowly adjust your sleep schedule, try sleeping for three or four hours after your shift (rather than seven to nine hours directly after your shift), get some sunshine and exercise, then sleep another three or four hours before your shift.
Best sleep schedule for night shift workers
The best sleep schedule for night shift workers is to sleep seven to nine hours directly after you have worked your shift. Spend the evening hours awake and alert. Try to get some exercise and sunshine during this time. Do activities that will keep you awake and avoid napping before your shift.
Night shift sleep schedule example
A good sleep schedule depends on your preferences and sleeping habits. For the most part, people working the night shift should follow a set sleeping schedule that revolves around getting about eight hours of sleep after the shift and staying awake during the hours before the shift.
For example, a night shift nurse’s sleep schedule would look like:
11 PM – Work shift starts.
12 AM to 5 AM – Work in a brightly lit environment to stay alert. Stop drinking caffeine at 3 AM so you don’t lay awake later when it’s time for bed. Eat dinner before 5 AM.
7 AM – Work shift ends.
8 AM – Go to bed. Reduce as much light as you can. Use blackout curtains and a white noise machine to help you sleep.
3 PM – Wake up and eat breakfast. Get natural light exposure.
4 PM to 8 PM – Run errands, complete chores and tasks, spend time with friends and family. Do activities that keep you alert. Avoid napping.
9 PM – Eat lunch.
Best sleep schedule for night shift
The best sleep schedule for night shift workers varies depending on the individual. For the most part, it is best to sleep seven to nine hours directly after your shift and avoid napping before your shift.
The reason you want to avoid napping before your shift is because you will force yourself to wake up in the middle of a deep sleep. This will cause you to wake up groggy and tired for your work shift. Staying awake throughout the night is hard enough without feeling tired to start with.
It is important to stick to your sleeping schedule once you find what works for you. If you are having trouble adjusting, it is not your fault. Humans have strong Circadian rhythms that can make it feel impossible to sleep during the day and work at night. That’s why it is best to slowly adjust your sleep schedule each day before your shift change.
If you are looking for a better night’s sleep (or day’s sleep), there are products you can buy to help. For example, you can try a white noise machine to provide steady sound or earplugs to block out the noises of the day. There are plenty of other products that can help you sleep as well.
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