Dubai, UAE, December 6, 2016: If you think catching up on a good night's sleep has been a daunting task for you, think about the many who work the non-traditional night shifts. UAE is an attractive workplace and invites talent of over 200 different nationalities. While many of us are fortunate enough to run around a fixed work hour's day schedule, some industry laterals like Medicine, Hospitality, Security and Maintenance require people to work night shifts.
The perils of night shifts are many. Whilst facing challenges working the non-traditional hours, people may find it difficult to keep up with friends and family. Fear of trouble in organizing your time and activities looms large and physical health may also suffer due to change in biological clock. Night shift workers are bound to find it difficult to get the sleep they need to stay well rested. Which means they are more likely to get sick. It also makes it perplexing to stay alert on the job. While this can hurt one's performance, it can also put you in danger. Being tired increases the chance of a work-related injury. Even driving home from work is a risk when you are sleepy.
Sleep specialists at The London Sleep Centre Dubai believe that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on various aspects of our lives. However, managing lack of sleep caused due to night shifts is possible. Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim (Medical Director, The London Sleep Centre Dubai) shares some worthy tips that work.
- Eat & Drink: With that Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim says, “Our body and mind is not trained to eat and drink once it is supposed to sleep. However, when we work in the night, the opposite happens and we need to fuel our body with healthy food and water, to keep it going constantly.” He reiterated that, “More than eating, it's the drinking of water bit that one needs to take care of. It is hard to be high functioning when you are dehydrated.”
- Plan your caffeine: Who isn't a coffee drinker? But just like we avoid drinking coffee closer to bed time, plan your coffee intake for your night shifts. Knowing too much of caffeine does more harm than benefit, sip into your favourite cuppa exactly half way thru your shift to remain alert until it ends. This way, it will not intrude into your sleep schedule too once you reach home.
- Black out: Our body reacts to sunlight and all kinds of artificial lights. So if you want to catch up on right about snoozes once you are home, invest in good quality curtains that block the bright sunlight. Stop checking your phones and use of I-pads if you want a relaxing and complete sleep.
- Hush the noise: It is bound to be noisier during the day and nearby construction sites, alarms, phone rings and door bells could intrude your sleep. It is best to let everyone know that you would be resting after a hectic night's shift, to avoid surprise arrivals at home. Get yourself a pair of ear-plugs to save you from noises that are beyond your control.
- Avoid Alcohol: It's a myth that alcohol helps you sleep. It may be a sleep inducer but does disrupt REM sleep which impacts how well-rested and functional you would be the next night shift.
- Practice sleep hygiene: Just as we develop a sleep-wake routine for traditional work shifts, working in the night demands the same. Though our body clock demands to stay awake when it is sunny, you can train the body and mind to sleep during the day if you maintain the timeline and sleep hours strictly.
- Go straight to bed: Another good way of practising sleep hygiene is to go straight to sleep once you are home. More the exposure to sunlight, more are the chances that you may feel tempted to ditch your sleep. It helps sleeping for couple of hours before you wake up for a healthy grub and then go back to sleep again after your daily dose of sunlight.
- Set boundaries: It is also a good idea to let friends and family know how important your sleep is to you because of a night shift. Request them to exclude you from avoidable outings such as shopping, movies etc. Also, invite no courier deliveries during your sleep time.
- Pump it out: Exercise at least every other day but after your sleep. Daytime sleepers should avoid early morning exercise, which can promote wakefulness during the day.
A little planning and discipline is all that's required for night-shifters to catch up on a good day's sleep!