Many Americans work in industries with irregular work hours. The medical and healthcare industry, transportation, and service industries all require workers to work shifts that fall outside the normal 9-5 workday. With irregular work hours, it becomes harder to get regular sleep. If you are one of the millions of American shift workers, we’ve got a solution to sleep problems caused by irregular work hours.
Sleep and shift work
We need sleep to stay physically and mentally alert, prepared, and able to tackle tough situations, as well as stay physically healthy and strong. But, since your body’s natural circadian rhythms rely on regularity, getting enough uninterrupted sleep per day becomes much more difficult for shift workers. You may be working a lot of days shifts before finding yourself facing a couple of night’s shift and on-call shifts. Shift work will constantly disrupt your natural sleep cycle, and before long you are suffering the symptoms of sleep deprivation. For shift workers in the transportation industry and the protective service industry – firefighters, doctors, EMT, nurses, police, etc. – being sleep-deprived can lead to serious accidents.
Regulating your sleep
Even though you work irregular hours, it is possible for you to take control of your sleep to make irregular shifts compatible with regular sleep. Employers and managers who set the schedule can also make a few changes to help their employees avoiding sleep problems due to their ever-changing work schedule.
Rotating shifts with the clock
According to the UCLA Sleep Disorder Center, managers can help their employees by rotating shifts with the clock, rather than against the clock. So, if you are scheduling an employee for a morning shift, don’t rotate their shifts directly to an evening or night shift, but rotate the schedule one shift ahead. So, go from morning shift, day shift, evening shift, and night shift. Not morning shift, night shift, day shift, and then back to the evening shift. We know it’s not always going to be possible to shift the schedule at regular intervals, but the more you can keep the rotating on a regular schedule, the easier it will be for your employees to adjust to a rotating schedule.
What type of person are you?
We’ve all heard of type A and type B people, just like we’ve heard of early birds and night owls. If you love working early mornings, or you love being up late at night, tell your manager. Maybe you can work more of the shifts that correlate to your personality.
Sleep aid for shift workers
Shift workers in the protective service industry and transportation industry should not be taking medication to help them deal with irregular sleep schedules. Sleep medication can leave you groggy and slow, two traits that can be life-threatening in these industries. The Dreampad Music Pillow is a solution to shift work sleep problems. It’s non-pharmacological, using specialized sounds and music to trigger a natural relaxation response.
The Dreampad can help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep so that you can overcome the difficulties of a changing work schedule.