Finding Your Balance With Shift Work
Welcome to shift work. The land of crazy schedules, night shifts and inconsistent routines. Keeping up with the demands of life and work can take a toll on just about anyone. If you are like many shift workers, your sleep is seriously lacking. Sleep is an important part of productivity and more importantly, health.
Ways To Make It Through The Shift
- Get Outside if opportunity permits. The sunlight will boost your melatonin levels, telling your body that now is the time to be awake. Getting outside can help you stay focused and keep your mind fresh for work. A little fresh air is good for the mind, body and soul.
- Take a power nap. A short nap can help to re-energize your body, especially if you are working a long or consecutive shift. This power nap should be kept to a maximum of 30 minutes. Any longer than 30 minutes and you risk falling into a deep sleep. A deep sleep can do more harm than good, since it becomes difficult to arise.
- Get repetitive work done first. We all section out our days with easy tasks, complicated tasks, repetitive tasks and tasks that are on a deadline. When it comes down to it, repetitive tasks are the most boring. You might be tempted to push these tasks to your end of day routine. By the end of the day you may have lost focus or drive and your concentration may be at a lull. It is best to get repetitive work done first, leaving more challenging tasks to keep you going and engaged throughout your day.
- Keep your workplace bright. You are only human. If you are tired and it is dark, there is nowhere to go but straight to dreamland. Keeping your workplace properly lit is important, especially for night shift workers. Keeping a bright workplace can help the body's circadian rhythm to adjust to the hours that it should be awake.
- Think twice about extra shifts. Sure, padding your pockets with a little extra cash sounds great! Unfortunately, picking up that extra shift comes at a cost. You may not be able to give your best work during extra shifts due to the lack of sleep and rest that your body is getting. It is important to break up your work shifts to allow for adequate rest and recovery. This will allow you to get back to the grind with ease.
If you are a late night or overnight shift worker, it is especially important to get great sleep. Be sure to limit house guests and visitors when you are scheduled to be sleeping. Purchasing black out shades can also go a long way in creating a sleep sanctuary. Also, make sure you are getting your best night's sleep on a memory foam mattress that will support your body and pillows that will conform to your sleep style.
How do you recover from a long week at work?