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Sleep Tips for Night Workers

Updated on May 5, 2014

Effective day-time sleep requires perfect conditions.

If you are a shift-worker then you know that sleeping during the day is difficult, and that it lowers the quality of rest. My tip to make the best of your day-time rest is to optimize your sleep environment.

There are three ingredients that you need to rest in a good way when you work odd hours: darkness, silence and comfort.

My guess is that you already have the comfort part under control (if not - time to get a new bed). Most people miss out on the rest of the easy and affordable tweaks that can be used to create a perfect sleep environment.

Here are a couple of sleep enhancing tips from someone who has done a fair bit of shift-work at odd hours.

Images by me.

True blackout curtains for bedrooms.

Not every curtain is the same. here are a couple of examples of specially designed curtains that effectively block out light. Some also have thermal insulation - meaning your day-time sleep session won't become too hot on sunny days. Blocking light is one thing, but also blocking heat (or cold) and dampening exterior sound - sets the right environment for a good sleep session.

One layer is not enough.

If you have a regular window blinds or a pull-down shade like mine seen here, the daylight that seeps through the edges is enough to limit the effectiveness of your sleep. You might not wake up from it, but your brain registers the light levels and that has a detrimental effect on the quality of sleep you got.

This is what my bedroom looks like during the day without the blackout curtains (taken down for washing).

Once they go up though, the pull-down shade and the curtains make my daytime sleep environment pitch-black!

The Sleep Machine

Noise reducing sleep machine
Noise reducing sleep machine

A growing problem for everyone trying to sleep during the day in a city is that everyone else is up, and making all sorts of sounds. Traffic is one of the worst.

One way to combat disturbing background sounds is to block them with sounds that create a soothing sound-wall against the disturbance. The Sleep Machine by Ecotones offers 10 different sound patterns, each which can be tweaked to taste. this is not just a sound playback device - it actively listens to the surrounding noise and adapts to combat noise in the best way.

This gizmo works. That's why it has more than a thousand reviews from buyers.

Double night shifts do not make you sleepy... - ... 4 pm to 8 am just makes you edgy, woozy and frayed.

We did 16hr shifts for weeks during the peak of last winter. Day sleeping was hard. You get tired, but all strung out. Sleep tricks helped though.
We did 16hr shifts for weeks during the peak of last winter. Day sleeping was hard. You get tired, but all strung out. Sleep tricks helped though.
Bedroom air purifier
Bedroom air purifier

Clean air improves your sleep.

When you think about it - the bedroom is probably one of the few confined places that you stay in for several hours at a stretch. Where you sleep is where your body recharges and rebuilds itself and having a good environment can make a big difference on the quality of your sleep.

Air quality is NOT as good as you may think in most bedrooms (even tidy ones) with lots of textile fibers, skin particles and bedding dust, etc, suspended in the air - air that you breathe unprotected for 6 - 10 hours every day.

Air is actually quite easy to filter and clean. Consider getting a Allergen-Reducing Air Cleaner like this one by Hamilton Beach if you regularily wake up with a sore throat, red eyes or simply bone tired without a logical reason. Bad air might be the reason.

Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch, Black
Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch, Black

Darkness lets your brain tune out. There is a reason why so many film-stars and celebrities use a sleep mask. If you work odd shifts and need to take quick naps - this is the ticket!


Got sleep tips? Let's hear them!

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    • kindoak profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @TapIn2U: Music works great as a sleep enhancer! Classic music does the trick for me. Some people get distracted and caught in the groove though (toe-taping out the rhythm under the blankets). That's when a white noise generator can help.

    • TapIn2U profile image


      4 years ago

      Great tips! I usually listen to music to let myself sleep. It works for me. Sundae ;-)


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