Sleep and shiftwork
About 4.1 million Canadian’s work shiftwork (28% of all workers). Alternating day, night, and afternoon shifts are common in health care, transportation services, mining, industrial work, and emergency services. Working at night works against your natural biological clock making it hard to get a good sleep. Most people go back to a normal day schedule and sleep at night on their days off making it hard to ever keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. This can lead to chronic fatigue and other health problems.
If you work irregular hours, do your best to:
- Avoid frequent rotating shifts.
- Schedule days off in between shifts.
- Limit caffeine to the beginning of your shift. Drinking it later in your shift may make it harder to sleep at bedtime.
- Maintain regular eating patterns and choose nutritious foods (Unlockfood.ca).
- Make sure your workplace is brightly lit to promote alertness.
- Avoid bright light on the way home from work if you work nightshift. Wear dark, wrap-around sunglasses and a large hat to shield yourself from the morning daylight.
- Keep the same bedtime routine regardless of the time you go to bed.
If you tend to be extremely sleepy after your shift, consider taking public transit, if possible.
For more information and tips on sleeping and working shiftwork, refer to the Canadian Sleep Society’s Strategies for Shiftworkers.
This item was last modified on September 5, 2018