Sleep tips for shift workers

Aim to have at least four hours sleep at the same time every night/morning (eg, 3am to 7am ). This seems to help 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 – invest in some black out curtains. If you work shifts, you really need to re-set that biological clock. Also, aim to cut out as much extraneous noise if possible — use ear plugs.

Avoid caffeine, large meals, or vigorous exercise for at least three to four hours before going to bed. If you have trouble getting to sleep, lavender, passionflower, hops, orange blossom, Scot’s pine, camomile, and peppermint all claim to promote sleep. And milky night time drinks really do help bring on the Zs.

The Romans thought that lettuce was good for sleep, but the crème-de-la-crème “sleep sandwich” has to be a banana, marmite, and lettuce buttie: the banana and marmite contain natural substances that help induce sleep.

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.

And don't forget that the right mattress is also very important.

For more friendly advice on this matter call Better Bedding on 091 756766, email [email protected], or see


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