Sleep advice for shift workers

If you work shifts, aim to have at least four hours sleep at the same time every night/morning (eg, 3am to 7am ). This will help to keep your sleep clock regular. Use the weekend or days off to get in some extra “recovery” sleep. Make sure the sleeping environment is as conducive to rest as possible.

A comfortable bed in a dark, well-ventilated, room is essential. And when we say dark, we mean dark – invest in some blackout curtains. If you work shifts, you really need to re-set your biological clock. Avoid stimulants (eg, coffee ), large meals, or vigorous exercise for at least three to four hours before going to bed. Also, avoid over-the-counter sleeping aids which may make you over sleepy when you need to be alert (driving home, for example ).

Maximum sleepiness occurs when your biological clock temperature is at its lowest — usually around 4am. Your personal level of alertness is controlled by your biological clock and by how much sleep you have had. Remember sleeplessness leads to poor concentration, thinking, memory, increased irritability, and hostility. Alcohol magnifies these effects.

For expert advice contact Better Bedding, Sean Mulvoy Road. Galway, phone 091 756766.

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