Alaska Sleep Education Center

How To Sleep Enough As A Flexible Worker

Posted by Monica Gibson on Mar 14, 2022 1:35:00 AM

Portrait of a confident businesswoman at work in her glass office.

Recently, more and more jobs have been in positions with flexible hours, including night shifts. These workers share one common problem: poor sleep due to work, which arose as a result of disruption of circadian rhythms. Daytime sleepiness, trouble falling asleep, low mood, a tendency to depression, and digestive disorders are symptoms of circadian rhythm disturbances that significantly impair quality of life. Ideally, it would be best to give up working at night to improve sleep and maintain health. But if you can’t leave a shift night schedule, you can at least try to reduce its harmful effects. The following tips will help you.


What is the problem for a flexible worker?

A shift schedule disrupts the biological clock. A person may have a floating work schedule at night and during the day. As a result, disruption of circadian rhythms occurs and gradually worsens. Circadian rhythms (internal clock, biological clock) are fluctuations in the intensity of various biological processes associated with the change of day and night.

The cause of circadian disorders may not only be because a person has a flexible schedule. If you've ever taken a long-haul flight, remember how it felt to be a few hours before or after your usual time. Approximately the same thing is experienced by an employee who has an uncomfortable schedule. The only difference is that he does not "jump in time" occasionally but several times a week.


Why do you need to sleep enough?

Sleep is a mode while all organs work uniquely. Sleep is a manifestation of self-regulation, which is subject to life rhythms in relation to physiology. This is a disconnection of human consciousness from the external environment, necessary to restore the functioning of the nervous system.

Good sleep helps strengthen memory, maintain concentration, cell renewal, remove toxins and excess fat cells, reduce stress, unload the psyche, and produce melatonin (a hormone that regulates circadian rhythms and strengthens the immune system).


How to sleep better?

If possible, sleep at work. Representatives of some specialties (on-duty fire department, security guards) can do this. If you're not allowed to sleep long hours as a flexible worker, you can take a 20-30 minute nap during your work break in the middle of the night.

It is best not to eat after ten o'clock in the evening; the digestive organs are not set up for a vigorous activity at night. If you allow yourself to snack, avoid large meals and any heavy, fatty foods. If you eat at work, don't eat on the run. Sit down and eat slowly. Otherwise, there is a big risk of unwittingly eating more than planned, which will aggravate the consequences of a sleepless night.

Caffeinated foods and drinks are allowed only in the night's first half. Stop taking them 6 hours before you are supposed to go to bed (that is, about 5 hours before the end of your shift), as this may prevent you from falling asleep. If you feel sleepy near the end of your night shift, but you can no longer have coffee, use other methods to help you cheer up: exercising, going out into the fresh air, washing your face with cold water, some focused activity, etc. In addition, drink about one litre of water during the night shift. This helps prevent dehydration, which exacerbates the effects of circadian rhythm disturbances.


If you have the opportunity to choose a workplace

You can relieve stress in the middle of the working day in coworking spaces, such as co-working spaces in New York. Get away from everyone in a sleep pod: a massage chair with an acoustic dome will help you take a nap or relax.

Coworking spaces in New York provide all the necessary environmental factors that largely determine the quality of sleep:

Temperature regulation. Standard conditions (typically 66.2-69.8°F) are considered optimal. If the person is fully open, meaning not using any blankets, the temperature should be slightly higher, around 82.4°F.

Humidity. First of all, this is very important, because in the autumn-winter period, when the central heating is turned on, the humidity in such places drops sharply. And dry air affects the increase in the resistance of the upper respiratory tract, primarily at the level of the nose. This contributes to respiratory failure in humans. The optimum indoor humidity should be between 60 and 80%.


Final word

Flexible working hours are not always convenient. However, by using the tips above, you can ensure that your sleep and quality of life suffer as little as possible from night shifts. Ideally, a person should not work at night. It is unnatural and dangerous. Night work is isolation from the family, providing health problems in the future. Anyway, do everything possible so that work brings pleasure and does not interfere with sleep.

If you're an Alaskan shift-worker and are experiencing difficulty with maintaining quality sleep, contact the Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone call with a sleep educator. In this phone call we can help determine if a sleep study at one of our 4 locations may be appropriate in diagnosing and treating your condition. Don't let poor sleep get in the way of you and success at work and your personal life, contact us today.

Chronic Drowsiness

Topics: work, shift work, work from home

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