Shift Work and Healthy Sleep

Lauren Hale from the National Sleep Foundation gives some expert sleep tips for shift workers to make sure you get the rest you need.

We rely on shift workers for so many important jobs, but those jobs can be tough to get the rest you need. If you are one of those workers, we've got some healthy sleeping tips for you.

Lauren Hale from the National Sleep Foundation has some sleep tips especially for shift workers such as firefighters, factory workers, truck drivers, police, and also for doctors and nurses. Shift work is an important part of our economy and, for many of us, necessary for our own jobs. Shift work can make it really hard to get the quality sleep you need to feel productive and happy. Unfortunately, we know sleepy workers are more likely to have accidents on the job and even traveling to and from work. 

Shift workers are also at a higher risk of depression, heart disease, and even cancer. Here's the good news! If you work shifts, there are many things you can do to make it a little safer and easier both on the job and at home. 

At work, a good tip is to take a walk before your shift. It's even better if you can do this while it's still light outside, since sunlight is a natural stimulant. You can also drink caffeine or sodas to give you a boost, but try to limit this for the first half of your shift. Caffeine can stay in your system for hours, and that can affect your sleep after work. Get up and move! Sitting for a long period of time can make you drowsy. Take short breaks to move your body and keep you up. 

Some things that you can do at home to make sure you get the right amount of sleep is sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room. This will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. You should also avoid screen time from your TV, tablet, and phone before bed. Keep a standard routine as well, even on your days off! Make sure you give yourself enough time to sleep. Plan ahead and prioritize this! That means 7-9 hours of sleep a night for adults. Finally, avoid caffeine, large meals, and alcohol before bed, since these can all affect your sleep.

If you're finding it hard to sleep at night when you're off work or you are struggling to stay awake on the job, talk to your doctor, and ask if you symptoms may be related to your work. 


This video is part of an ongoing series HealthiNation has created in partnership with the experts at the National Sleep Foundation,

Lauren Hale, PhD

This video features Lauren Hale, PhD. Dr. Hale is the editor in chief of the National Sleep Foundation's professional journal, Sleep Health, and an associate professor of preventive medicine in the program in public health at Stony Brook University.

Duration: 2:29. Last Updated On: March 22, 2019, 2:57 p.m.
Reviewed by: Mera Goodman, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: March 22, 2019
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