1) Set a Sleeping Goal
Set a goal to sleep eight hours everyday. In the past, it has been easy for me to sleep only 4.5 or five hours, get up to the bathroom, and then be wide awake; only to find it is time to go back to work and I have not slept enough.
There are two habits I am forming which has transformed my life in this area. I have darkened my bedroom more than it was previously darkened. There were little cracks of light seeping through the windows, and I corrected that issue. It is now VERY dark in my room. The second thing I have done is to faithfully take melatonin as soon as I get home. I currently take 4 mg of melatonin, and this has helped the length of time I sleep, tremendously. I use a pharmaceutical grade melatonin, because I want to ensure I am taking a pure formulation. I am also considering darkening my bathroom, so I will not be exposed to the bright light when I get up for a bathroom break.
There were several articles that discussed wearing very dark sunglasses as you leave the place of employment and on the trip home. There has been research to show that once your subject your eyes to the bright morning light, this does something to you body that says “wake up”. So, this is on my to do list, and I will be purchasing this item TODAY!
3) Eat Low Ghlycemic
I already do this. HOWEVER, I was very excited to see this was suggested in several articles. One new piece of information was to have the heavy meal in the evening prior to going on the shift. Do not eat a heavy meal in the middle of the night. Do not eat a heavy breakfast. So, take small low glycemic snacks and eat every three hours. I always have a nutritional shake or bar with me during the night so that I can eat or snack quickly and ensure I am getting good nutrition. (I also lost 35 pounds eating this way). Research has shown that due to several endocrine factors, and increased insulin resistance for night workers, it is very important to learn these concepts. Look for future teleconference and classes on this subject.
4) Breakfast Before Bed
Small balanced breakfast before going to bed. Do not go to bed hungry. AND make sure you eat a meal that is balanced. Don’t just eat fruit. Also, do not eat a heavy meal. This will lay heavy on your stomach, and really make you quite uncomfortable. My favorite is to make a healthy smoothie, making sure I get healthy protein, carbohydrate and fats. A good complex carb with a high fiber content will not overwhelm your stomach, but take a while to digest, and allow you to sleep without having that “Knawing” sensation in your belly.
5) Go Off the Grid
Take the phone off the hook, or place the phone out of your room. DO NOT feel like you have to be available to the phone just because someone calls. You may be concerned with missing emergency calls. Work out another system. With a TRUE emergency, someone will come and knock on your window, or bedroom door.
6) White Noise
I have also read many papers on background noise. I sleep with a “spa” type machine that plays a “rain” type sound. A bedside air filter will do the same thing. This not only drowns out any noise that is going on in the house and neighborhood, but it relaxes my mind. This is a MUST HAVE for anyone working night shift.
7) Work Out
Mild to moderate exercise, before you go to work. At the end of the shift, it can get you pumping, and ready to be awake instead of getting ready for sleep.
8) Watch What You Eat
Another point on nutrition. Find a good pharmaceutical grade multivitamin and antioxidant. Even if you eat EVERYTHING raw, and natural, I totally believe the body needs something to fill in all nutritional gaps. There are too many external factors today that comes against our bodies causing free radicals. I have heard people say from time to time they don’t take vitamins because they don’t want expensive pee. Honestly, the body knows what it has need of on a day to day basis.
What I may not need one day, I may need the next. How do you really know? I take extra vitamin D. Research has shown one of the risk categories for Vitamin D deficiency is to work night shift. We just don’t get enough natural sun. I take my vitamins at least twice per day, and I also take a very high grade product. Really, if you take your health seriously, why not invest in something that is going to really give you the bang for your buck?