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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.

Tips for getting enough sleep 

  • 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
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time
  • Prioritise getting one long block of rest rather than a few naps

Tips for sleeping when 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
  • Use an eye mask when sleeping
  • If it’s bright out when you leave work, wear sunglasses, this can 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 can 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
  • Try 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.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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Published April 26th2015
Last updated July 10th2018
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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