This is how I do it! Overall minimization of end of shift tasks is important. But, realistically, the same thing just doesn’t work everyone. For many, adopting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a bedroom environment conducive to rest can have a huge impact. 12 hour shifts are used by approximately 40% of our clients. Split sleep schedules have recently begun to emerge as a potential alternative to continuous night shift work. While a few true night owls prefer this schedule, working the night shift is challenging for most nurses. Sleep consistency is key for many employees working night shift schedules. Cleveland Clinic. See the chart below for an example. Sometimes I read articles on how to sleep while working nights that dogmatically dictate a certain sleep schedule. Then when you begin the night shift, your body will already be getting ready for the new schedule. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Improve your sleep on a shift-based schedule. National Sleep Foundation. Here are the key points and some action steps for creating a better schedule. And if you’re new to shift work or have been struggling to get adequate sleep, you might need to try a few different sleeping patterns to see which is best for you. Try to avoid long commutes that take time away from sleeping. The researchers pointed out that this is the least effective strategy for adapting one’s circadian clock to a night-time schedule. Circadian rhythm disorders. Performance is worse at the end of shifts, particularly night shifts. Night: 1900-0700. Action: Minimize unnecessary or complex tasks at the end of shifts. How to sleep well when you work the night shift. Cut down your Caffeine Intake. They make scheduling a bit simpler since you are only dealing with 2 shift times. If you can't, it's easier to adjust to a schedule that rotates from day shift to evening to night rather than the reverse order. You might, for example, find yourself spending a chunk of your time off recovering from your time on. In many hospitals and long-term care facilities, newly hired nurses are asked to work the night shift. It took me quite awhile and a lot of experimenting to find a sleep schedule that works well for me. Day: 0700-1900. I switch back to a normal sleep schedule when I’m not working so I can take care of my little boy. Updated October 1, 2010. On the last few days of the evening shift, delay the times you go to bed and wake up by one to two hours each day. The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift. I usually work 2-3 shifts together and then have a day or two off. You need to define your night shift sleep schedule in accordance with your work while keeping in mind to sleep for 7 to 8 hours at a stretch. Sleep deprivation and deficiency. See 7 different 12-hour shift rotation examples here . This strategy might shock you if you had been relying too much on caffeine during your night shifts. 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