A shift worker is anyone who follows a work schedule that is outside of the typical '9 to 5' business day, including doctors and nurses, pilots, bridge builders, police officers, customer service representatives and commercial drivers.
Risks involved with shift work
- Disrupted sleep schedules
- Reduced performance
- Difficulties with personal relationships
- Irritability/depressed mood
Staying on top of shift work
Here are some tips for sleeping during the day:
- Wear dark glasses to block out the sunlight on your way home.
- Keep to the same bedtime and wake time schedule, even on weekends.
- Eliminate noise and light from your sleep environment (use eye masks and earplugs).
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods close to bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol; although it may seem to improve sleep initially, it actually disturbs sleep later in the night.
- Avoid long commutes and extended hours.
- Take short nap breaks throughout the shift.
- Work with others to help keep you alert.
- Try to be active during breaks (e.g., take a walk, shoot hoops in the parking lot or even exercise).
- Drink a caffeinated beverage (coffee, tea, colas) to help maintain alertness early in the shift.
- Don't leave the most tedious or boring tasks to the end of your shift when you are apt to feel the drowsiest. Night-shift workers are most sleepy around 4:00-5:00 a.m.