How To Sleep After An Overnight Shift

4 min read

Do you find sleeping after working a night shift challenging? Is there a way of quickly adapting to overnight shift sleep patterns?

Sleeping after a night shift can be challenging, but there are ways to make you sleep faster. Eliminate coffee, eliminate sugary drinks, quit smoking, minimize light exposure before bedtime. Prepare your bedroom for uninterrupted sleep; keep it cool and dark.

How to sleep better after a night shift

Here are a few tips to help you sleep better after a night shift:

  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on days off. This can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  2. Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet. Use earplugs or a white noise machine to block out noise, and invest in a comfortable bed and pillows.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns. Try to avoid consuming these substances for at least a few hours before bed.
  4. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to improve sleep quality. Just be sure to finish your workout a few hours before bed so that your body has time to wind down.
  5. Use relaxation techniques: Try using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation to help you relax and sleep better.
  6. Consider using sleep aids: If you are having difficulty sleeping after a night shift, it may be helpful to try over-the-counter sleep aids or prescription sleep medication. However, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional before using any sleep aids.
  7. Get plenty of natural light: Exposure to natural light during the day can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to spend some time outside during the day, or use a light therapy box to help improve your sleep quality.

How long should you sleep after last night’s shift?

As part of your sleep plan, set aside a block of 7 to 8 hours of sleep and try to sleep for that amount of time if possible.

To achieve this, have a light meal before going to bed. Avoid traditional breakfast foods that are fried. Fried food can cause heartburn.

Avoid anything that may give you gas in your stomach. Remember, you have a routine and a block of sleep schedule, so don’t do anything to interrupt your sleep routine.

Whatever your job is through the night, you need to know how to sleep after a night shift if you will be on top of your game for the next shift, so get those valuable sleep hours in.

Is melatonin good for night shift workers?

night shift workers

Yes. Finding a way to sleep after an overnight shift can be tricky and if melatonin supplements make sleeping easier, then take them.

The issue with taking sleep supplements is they take a few hours to kick in; they are not sleeping tablets, so you will need to take your melatonin before you finish your shift.

You could also try tryptophan supplements. Tryptophan is a chemical produced after eating chicken or turkey, which is responsible for you feeling drowsy after Thanksgiving lunch.

Supplements like melatonin and tryptophan do not have side effects and are perfectly safe to take. However, melatonin does take time to get into your system.

By dropping caffeine out of your night shift diet, you should be able to sleep perfectly fine.

Does working the night shift affect your sleep?

Yes, it’s an unnatural time for humans to be awake. Most of us sleep during the night, so changing tonight’s work can be a shock to the system, causing a lot of fatigue.

Night Shifts take time to adapt to, and there are some keys to working and being alert and then sleeping when you get home.

If you work nights, try to eat healthily and get some exercise during your break times if possible. Eat light through the night. Working nights can make you gain weight, so eat sensibly.

Establish a sleeping routine that you can adhere to, your sleep is important, and without sleeping well during the day, you can cause health issues and performance issues at work.

On the weekend, when you are off, stick to your night shift sleeping and eating routine, so you do not disrupt your sleeping pattern.

It can be challenging to find a way to sleep after a night shift, and once you have your routine, don’t break it.

What should I eat after a night shift?

Keep it light. Traditional breakfasts that contain mountains of food and fried foods should be avoided.

Choose light, healthy foods that will keep you satiated through your sleeping routine; these could be whole grain cereals, smoothies, and fruit.

Heavy food will keep you awake, so be mindful of what you eat for your mid-shift lunch. Also, it’s a must to avoid unhealthy foods if you are to sleep well when your shift ends.

Avoid alcohol when you get home. You may be tempted to have a quick beer or two after work, making you sleep worse and waking you through your sleeping routine.

What are the advantages of working the night shift?

In terms of health, there are no advantages and a few disadvantages like it’s easier to gain weight.

However, many of you have no choice but to work shift rotations, so the main advantage of working the night shift is the additional increment in pay. There is normally a night shift allowance to compensate the worker for working unsociable hours that are disruptive to everyday life.

The time differential is enough for many people to make working nights a viable prospect from the standard day shift.

Why you can’t sleep

It’s a common problem, and you are not alone. You need to adapt to working night shifts, and a constantly changing routine can affect your circadian rhythm sufficiently to cause shift work sleep disorder SWSD.

However, with every cloud, there is a silver lining, and with a bit of discipline, you can get to sleep and sleep well during the day.

After working a night shift, you need to find the best way to sleep by establishing a sleep routine. This routine is going to be the key to your sleeping success.

When you get home, say hi to everyone who’s just starting their day and then eat some food, but keep in mind to avoid daylight as much as possible before going to bed. 

Head for a nice warm shower or bath to ease your muscles and wash away the night’s grime.

After you shower, go to bed. Don’t be tempted to switch on your smartphone or other screens. The light emitted is similar to daylight and will mess with your circadian rhythm.

Make sure your bedroom is as dark as it can be. Any chink of light could disturb your sleep. With your dark bedroom, make sure the bedroom is cool. Snuggling up to a duvet is better than sweating it out all day long.

Because you are sleeping during the day, there will be some road noise and neighborly noise such as lawnmowers and the like. Invest in a decent set of earplugs. Foam earplugs work great as they mold to every crevice of the ear, almost blocking sound completely.

Set your alarm and turn your alarm clock away from you. Clock watching can build up anxiety if you are struggling to sleep.

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