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Five Tips for Surviving Shift Work

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For some people, shift work is nothing but a headache. For others, shift work is incredibly beneficial. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, there are ways to survive shift work with your mind and body intact. If you’ve found yourself being assigned to shifts, here are five survival tips:

1. Get Your Schedule Straight

Until you’re used to working shifts, it can be easy to forget important appointments. Your brain will be trying to adjust to your new work habits, and you may find yourself losing track of time. When you start your new schedule, be sure to keep a calendar handy. Write down all of your important appointments, and cross out the days as they pass. If you do these things, you’ll keep track of your days and remember to keep appointments, attend the kids’ sporting events and lunch with your partner.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

2.Paint Your Room

If you have a bright, cheery, yellow bedroom, you’re going to find it very difficult to sleep during the day. Light, bright colors reflect even the smallest amounts of light. If you’re the type of person that can only sleep in complete darkness, you’re going to have many restless days. Instead of tossing and turning, paint the walls of your bedroom a deep shade of blue, green, purple or even red. Your walls will absorb the light instead of reflecting it, ensuring that your room is as dark as possible.

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

3.Cover Your Windows

Speaking of your bedroom, what kind of window treatments do you have hanging? You may want to switch out whatever you currently have with light-blocking blinds and curtains. If you are deeply in love with your current window treatments, consider putting a light-blocking film over your windows. The first time you roll over, wake up to the sun streaming in and can’t fall back asleep, you’ll wish that you’d been wiser about your choice of window treatment.

“It’s not just the physical body that experiences the ill effects of sleep deprivation. Mentally and emotionally, people who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night function much less effectively.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t just lack overall energy. Instead, your body is missing out on the restorative action of sleep, as a result of which you may get sick.” –

4.Adjust Your Eating Patterns

Even though you would normally eat breakfast at 7am, it will no longer make sense to eat a full meal and hop into bed. Eating properly, and on a better schedule, will not only keep you energized but help you sleep better. For example, if you work 10pm to 6am, your breakfast should be eaten when you wake up in the afternoon, your lunch just before work, and your dinner on your lunch break. When you get home, eat a piece of fruit so that you aren’t going to bed with an empty stomach.

5. Share Your Schedule

Nothing will ruin a good day’s sleep quicker than the phone ringing off of the hook and people banging on your door. Try to remember that it’s difficult for people to adjust to someone else’s new shift when they’ve never worked shifts themselves. Share your schedule with family and friends, letting them know when you’ll be sleeping and when you’ll be available to talk and socialize.

Once you adjust to shift work, you may find that it’s quite enjoyable. Working the night shift means that you can avoid the crowds at the bank, visit the doctor without having to call off sick, and even cook the family breakfast in the morning. If you follow the tips above, you’ll find your transition to shifts as painless as possible.

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