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How to Get Some Sleep When You Work the Graveyard Shift

Sleep — or rather, the lack of it — becomes a major source of stress for those who work the night shift (or graveyard shift). It’s thought that 22 million Americans work night shift and this figure is growing as more job opportunities open for third shift. Working nights fights against the body’s natural rhythm. You need to fool your body.

You and the rest of your household also need to make sleep a priority.


Things You’ll Need

  • Darkened windows
  • White noise machine
  • Sympathetic roommates
  • Cool to cold room to sleep in
  • Motivation


How to Get Some Sleep When You Work the Graveyard Shift

Sleep When You Work the Graveyard Shift

1. Buy and install a white noise machine, sometimes called sleep machines or wave machines, in your bedroom next to your bed.


2. Turn out the lights in your bedroom and see where light comes in through any cracks in your doors or your windows. cover up all of these areas, including nailing up black curtains over your windows.


3. Keep your bedroom as cool as possible, but not uncomfortably cold.


4. Have a small snack like a bowl of cereal one hour to one half hour before bed.


5. Make your lunch for your work shift and lay out your clothes before going to bed.


6. Unplug or switch off the telephone.

Make sure your roommates or family know not to disturb you and to keep quiet.


7. Go to bed and switch on white noise machine.

Keep as still as comfortably possible, so at least your body gets rest even if you don’t fall asleep.


Tips and Warnings

  • Many painkillers contain caffeine. Be sure to check the ingredients before use.
  • Baths are more soothing than showers.
  • Keep to your night shift sleep schedule as much as possible on your days off.
  • Ask your doctor for help if you have trouble sleeping in the daytime.
  • Do not eat a heavy meal or consume caffeine in any form at least two hours before sleep.
  • Do not rely on alcohol or over the counter sleeping tablets to get to sleep. They do not work and give dangerous side effects.
  • Do not watch television or play a video game that gets you really excited right before bedtime. You won’t be able to relax enough for sleep.
  • Don’t watch the clock if you can’t sleep. This can get you more frustrated.
  • If, after a year, your body still cannot adjust to working the night shift, seriously consider getting another job.
  • Don’t smoke.


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