Do you struggle to sleep well after a night shift?
Have you tried everything but nothing will work for you?
Working a night shift in the NHS is tough and it can really take its toll on you, both physically and mentally. It completely throws your body clock out of sync and it can be very difficult to readjust. All you want to do is pull the covers over your head and kick out some well-earned ZZZ’s.
But you’re forgetting one crucial thing – you work in the NHS and there’s no time to rest!
That’s why we’ve put together our ultimate tips to help you get better sleep after a night shift.
1. Choose your tactics wisely
There’s two ways to attack post night shift sleep – ‘All-in’ or ‘Break it down’. Some of you might be lucky enough to switch off straight away and fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. Others might need to take a different approach and break your sleep down into two, three hour chunks. Try both options and figure out which one suits you best.
2. Don’t just lie there
There’s no point lying in bed for the sake of it, trying to force sleep after a night shift. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. You end up sitting there, staring at the ceiling, becoming increasingly frustrated that you can’t drift off, and sending your brain into overdrive. Get up for 20 minutes, have a glass of water, then get yourself back to bed. This will help to take your mind off everything and help you doze off into a beautiful slumber.
3. Get comfy
It’s important that your comfy levels are at a maximum once you get into bed after your night shift, and a good quality mattress is key to this. Choosing a mattress that provides the right level of support and comfort will help to prevent back problems and will help you get a relaxing sleep, so you’re refreshed ready for another shift. Beds and mattresses can be quite expensive, but NHS staff can currently get 10% off online with our NHS discount code at Bensons for Beds. You could even find the bed or mattress which suits you at your local store, then buy it online through our website and save 10%.
4. Put your phone away
Whatever you do, don’t get into bed and start playing on your phone after a night shift. According Harvard academic Professor Charles Czeisler, artificial light can actually stimulate and ‘fool’ the brain into staying awake. Playing on games or checking your Facebook can make you more alert, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. Put your phone down, your hundreds of friend requests can wait a few hours.
5. Stay off the caffeine
Don’t drink any caffeine throughout the second half of your night shift. Caffeine might help you get through the final few hours, but if you continue to drink it then it will affect you when you get home. Have your caffeine fix in the first half, then stick to water to get you over the finish line and ready for bed.
6. Clear your path
A good tip to avoid any clumsy accidents – there’s nothing worse than trying to find the toilet when you’re half asleep and you stub your toe. Clear the path of any shoes, clothing, kids toys, or anything else that might come back to haunt you later, leaving you with a clear path to get the toilet if nature comes calling.
Do you have any more tips that have helped you get better sleep after a night shift?