If you work rotating or night shifts you may be at risk of shift work sleep disorder. You may have excessive sleepiness and/or an inability to fall asleep at a time that suits your work schedule.
Sleeping problems affect 30% of adults at one time or another.1 It can be brought on by worry, discomfort, illness, certain medications and medical conditions, an unsettled baby, sleeping in a new place, jet lag or disturbances due to noise (such as a snoring partner!).
There are measures you can take to help you get a better night's sleep, but first you need to work out why your sleep is not as good as you’d like it to be.
Some people find that although they may have slept all night, they just don’t feel refreshed when they wake up — if this sounds like you, it can be a sign that something’s not right with the quality of your sleep.
So what is insomnia exactly? Insomnia is Latin for ‘no sleep’. It’s defined as an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Many people with insomnia also complain of not feeling refreshed when they wake up.
Shift work sleep disorder
- Because you have to sleep when others around you are awake, try and rearrange social events so that you can participate without giving up your sleep time. Unless you’re on a rotating shift, try to stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time every day.
- Ask other people in your family to consider your need for sleep. Turn off your phone and consider getting some earplugs or a white noise machine to help block out noise.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool.
- Don’t drink coffee, caffeinated drinks or alcohol before going to bed. Avoid using sleeping pills or smoking.
- Can you arrange to sleep just before going to work? This could be better than sleeping earlier in the day. Otherwise, you could try and sneak in a nap before heading off to work.
- Can you take a break during your shift? If so, think about using it to grab a short 15-minute nap. If you nap any longer than this, you may have trouble waking up.