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Getting enough sleep when working irregular hours

Make sure you get enough sleep when you're on the night-shift


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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Many people work irregular hours now, from doctors and nurses, to bar staff at nightclubs, to cleaners who might have to do an early morning shift. If you’re working very early or very late, and at different times every week, this can make it difficult to get all the good quality sleep that you need. But there are some measures you can take to optimise your sleep, even when working awkward hours!

General tips

  • If you’re able to, try to do as little shift work as possible and try to not work for longer than 12 hours in a row.
  • Always try to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
  • Make sure you get one long block of rest rather than a few naps.

If you work night shifts

  • Get some blackout blinds or curtains for your bedroom. This will make it way easier to get to sleep once you get home. If you can’t get your hands on these, consider getting an eye mask.
  • If it’s bright out when you leave work, wear sunglasses. This will help you sleep once you’re home.

If you work early morning shifts

  • As soon as you wake up, switch on a bright light. This will help your body wake up.
  • A bit of physical activity, such as jumping jacks or a short walk outside can help wake you up too.
  • Make sure you go to bed at least 7 hours before you need to wake up.

If you're still struggling to get some good quality sleep, check out these 10 great ways to improve your sleep here.

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Published April 26th, 2015
Last updated November 28th, 2016
Tags sleep work mental health
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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