Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Essential Sleep Aid Tips for Shift Workers

By Veronika Namesse

Most people who have irregular sleeping patterns because of work shift schedules suffer with sleeping disorders or insomnia. A significant part of this group is seeking professional advice to help them resolve sleeping issues. Working on shifts sometimes has a negative impact on a person's system. But when unpleasant incidents occur due to insomnia, the matter becomes a concern that needs immediate attention aside from the usual solution involving a sleep aid.

Shift jobs and your Body Clock

Employees working on shifts are prone to experiencing fatigue and loss of sleep. This is a natural reaction after your body clock is disrupted. There is no concrete solution yet to the problem of getting adequate sleep for people who are working on shifts, aside from relying on a sleep aid. However, it is suggested that the best way to deal with a system that has gone out of sync is to help the body clock to become aligned again. While a sleep aid can help you get a good sleep, the following ways are considered effective in normalizing the body's system and in turn help you sleep soundly:

- It is important to adjust to your new schedule immediately. Time your activities in such a way that it matches your new timetable.

- You can also take the gentle way of changing your sleeping pattern. Try to change your sleeping habits by making small improvements every 3 or 4 days.

- It is recommended that you incorporate a high protein, low carbohydrate meal during breakfast and lunch. For your dinner, it is suggested that you eat foods low in protein and high in carbohydrates.

- Exercise to help you restructure you body rhythms. Gentle workouts, like jogging a couple of hours before midnight, can help you start your new "day."

- Take short naps in breaks during your shift to improve a shift worker's performance later in the shift.

- Make sure that when you get your sleep during the day, you'll have the room to yourself to get quality sleep. This is possible by making sure that your room has good ventilation and is not too hot.

- It is said that light in the morning can help you get more completely awake. When you are still trying to get the hang of your new sleeping pattern, use a bright light, like a visor or a light box, as soon as you awake.

- Avoid caffeine a few hours before sleeping. Milk, which is considered by some as a sleep aid, is a better alternative as it helps you fall asleep.

- Stick to a good sleep hygiene.

If all else fails, consult with your doctor. If you really have trouble going to sleep, ask him if you can be prescribed with a sleep aid. Your doctor will be able to provide you with the right medications, aside from a sleep aid, that will enable you to go to sleep already and stop counting sheep.

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