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Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

Last updated on: November 7, 2011 16:31 IST

Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

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Manasi Chaudhari, Lifemojo.com

Attractive salaries draw youngsters to jobs where they have to work night shifts. This could pose a danger to their health as rotating shifts make it difficult for them to sleep the required number of hours. An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine claims that 20 per cent of workers do not work during the day time, but at evening and night shifts, which adds up to a huge number of individuals who have opted for non-traditional working hours.

Dangers that arise from loss of sleep

A number of studies indicate that health complaints ranging from the mild to the fatal may result from loss of sleep due to employees working night shifts. The studies also indicate that it also affects the performance levels of employees.

A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that after prolonged exposure to night shift work, women are at a higher risk to develop breast and colon cancer. The study also found that men who work the night shift are at a higher risk to develop prostate cancer.

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Working in night shift? Here

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  • Sleep disruption first causes mild disorders such as:
  • Sleep disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Ulcers
  • Digestive problems
  • Soon more serious complication set in, such as:
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Breast and colon cancer in women
  • Prostrate cancer in men

Behavioural problems that could arise from such stressful working patterns are:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of self esteem
  • Phobias
  • Withdrawal from social interaction
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Wallowing in unwanted thoughts
  • Phobias

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

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The importance of deep sleep

An analysis of the six to eight hours of sound sleep shows how sleep can be divided into 'light sleep' and 'deep sleep'. During deep sleep, many of the brain's functions are at rest. This process helps the brain to restore itself and function well the next day.

Throughout the time we sleep in the night, we constantly shift from light sleep to deep sleep and vice versa. The restorative deep sleep continues for around 45 minutes and when disrupted causes problems in normal functioning of the brain. The biological clock gets upset and we have trouble sleeping during the day.

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

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Why people working during night shift have difficulty in sleeping?

Those who work night shifts have trouble getting deep sleep during day time because of many reasons. First, the bright sunlight prevents them from falling into a deep sleep.

Even when they manage to fall asleep, day time activity around them produces a lot of noise, in the form of car horns, dogs barking, people talking loudly, with grinders, mixers, vacuum cleaners adding to the din. How can a person sleep well under these circumstances?

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Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

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What to avoid?

  • Avoid rotating your shifts backward. Rather than do an afternoon shift and then move to a morning shift, move from morning to evening shift and then to night shift
  • Don't do night shifts in a row. Try to take breaks in between to give rest to your body of working continuously through the week
  • Don't change your shifts too often. Try to stick to the same shift, for at least a couple of weeks, for your sleep pattern to get set
  • Avoid crashing in to bed the minute you reach home. Enjoy the cool morning hour with a simple breakfast and a newspaper. Listen to music and go to sleep in a relaxed state of mind
  • Avoid and limit drinking coffee in order to stay alert, particularly during the last part of the night. You may find yourself unable to sleep once the shift ends
  • Avoid excessive use of antacids, tranquilisers and sleeping pills
  • Avoid meeting guests and tell visitors strictly that they cannot meet you during the workdays

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Working in night shift? Here's how to manage your sleep

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What habits to adapt?

  • Stick to a regular schedule, by going to bed and waking up at the same time
  • Take the help of your family members in keeping a space for you that is cool and dark. Use dark paper, foil or tinting on the window to darken the room
  • Ask your family members to keep their cell phones in silent mode and maintain low levels of noise
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, learn some relaxation exercises and breathing techniques that help your muscles to relax and help you enjoy deep sleep

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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Some healthy nutrition tips

  • Drinking water can improve your digestion, and gives relief from fatigue and headaches
  • Keep a check on your fat intake. Eating fried food, spicy snacks and red meat adds a lot of stress to the body. Lean meat pieces, egg white or fish can provide your body with nutrition
  • Increase your fiber intake. Eating fibrous food such as oat bran and finger millet (ragi) improves your nutrition profile. Apples, guava and pears are examples of fibrous fruits. Complex carbohydrates are more nutritious than refined rice or wheat
  • Have a light dinner at your office cafeteria. Eating light dinners keep you alert during night shifts and ready for a good breakfast at the end of the shift
  • Prefer buttermilk over fizzy drinks because it is a healthier and cooler option
  • As night shifts appear to be a necessary evil, we should adapt our lifestyles to rotating shifts. This would give us the opportunity to further our careers and remain healthy at the same time
     

LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.



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