Two planes landed at Regan National Airport just after midnight on March 23rd without assistance from the control tower because the lone air traffic controller was asleep. "Shift workers are among the most sleep-deprived segments of the population," says Eve Van Cauter, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies circadian rhythms and their impact on the endocrine system. In a piece for USNews.com Elizabeth Klerman, a physician in the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, says "every physiological system has been noted to have increased problem with shift work in general," The body's internal natural clock has a very difficult time being asleep during day light hours and awake during nighttime hours. What are some of your tips for sleep if you are a shift worker?
Here are a few of our tips for a good "night" or "day" sleep:
- Make Sure Your Bedroom is Dark
Even if it's daylight outside, trick your body into thinking it's night by getting light blocking curtains or shades. Close them tight and cover even the digital clock to block out all light in the room.
- Make Sure Your Bedroom is Cool
Open your windows, lower the heart or crank up the air conditioning to get a nice cool temperature in your room. Sleep is easier in a cold room.
Making yourself yawn is contagious and yawning promotes sleepiness.
- Have a Journal Close at Hand
Sometimes our minds race with so many thoughts and worries as we lay in bed that it's impossible to feel peaceful. Having a journal close at hand makes it easy to jot down important thoughts giving way to sleep.
- Power Down
Electronics are stimulating and reve up the brain so for the best chance for zzz's, power down 30 minutes before bed. Reading a book, newspaper or magazine can promote relaxation and sleep.
- Don't Eat Before Bed
Your metabolism will be hard at work if you chow down before bed. Have your last bite at least an hour before settling in for sleep.
- Visualize a Peaceful Relaxing Place
A good technique to get your mind to a quiet place is a visualization exercise. Create in your mind a peaceful, quiet, calm place that you love. Visualizing yourself there will help rest your mind and promote calm. Take yourself to a "Happy Place" for better sleep.
- Wear Comfortable Loose Fitting Clothing (Yes, I Mean Pajamas)
Whather you choose pajamas, nightshirts, or boxers...the key is comfort. Pajamas are perfect because of the loose fit and comfy fabric.
Try a few of these techniques for better sleep. Sweet Dreams!