About 16% of people work a non-daytime schedule, including those who work nights. Adapting to these non-conventional shifts can be a challenge at first because they go against the natural circadian rhythms that guide the sleep cycle. Because of these, evening and night employees usually feel more tired at work compared to their daytime counterparts.
The good news is that there are certain things these workers can do to feel more focused and alert while they are on the clock. Below are some tips to keep alert while working the night shift as a security guards Melbourne. This should help avoid sleep disorders that are usually associated with this kind of work, such as shift work disorder and insomnia.
Tip #1: Find Time to Nap
Napping during the night shift can give you a much-needed energy boost that will sustain you until you clock out. The trick is to not nap for too long; 10 to 20 minutes is ideal. Such a short duration gives a few minutes of interrupted rest without falling into a deep sleep. Waking up from deep sleep leads to feelings of disorientation and grogginess. Use your scheduled break times to nap. You might also want to consider taking a quick nap at the end of your shift if you have a long drive or commute to and from work.
Tip #2: Avoid Too Much Caffeine
Many people who work night shifts rely on caffeine to keep them refreshed and alert. However, too much caffeine can negatively affect your sleep once your shift ends. If you want caffeine for work, consume only a moderate amount during the first few hours of your shift. Avoid caffeine three or four hours before your scheduled bedtime. There are shift workers who use coffee naps for that added kick. Caffeine will take effect in about 20 minutes after so you just have enough time for a refreshing nap.
Tip #3: Eat Right
Following a balanced and healthy diet can be a challenge if you work night shifts. Also, people with night work schedules are more susceptible to stomach issues compared to those who work during the day, which can include heartburn, indigestion, and loss of appetite. The recommended food and drinks for night workers are fruits and vegetables, dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meat, crackers, bread, and other grains. For a quick snack during your shift, go with nuts or fruit instead of sodas or candies.
Tip #4: Create a Sleep Schedule
It helps to establish a sleep routine and to stick to it even on days when you are not working the night shift. First, try out different patterns of sleep and work and see what works best for you. For instance, you might find it more conducive to sleep for a few hours once you get home, and then another few hours before your next shift. Alternatively, you can stay awake once you get home after work and sleep later in the day awakening right before your next night shift.
Tip #5: Keep Your Workstation Bright
Your circadian rhythms are based on natural cycles of darkness and light. Certain hormones keep you alert during the day and sleepy once the sun goes down. Studies have shown that bright light exposure at work can help the body adapt to non-conventional sleep-wake schedules. Lamps with a light intensity between 1,200 and 10,000 are deemed the most effective. Some people report that exposure to these light sources for three to six hours in a night shift can help, while others feel refreshed with 20-minute intermittent exposures.
Follow the tips above and you should be a little more alert and focused on your next night shift as a security guard. Try them all out, and pick and stick with the ones that work for you best.