It’s something many of us take for granted. Some people don’t even think about it. But when you’re a shift worker, thinking about sleep seems to occupy a lot of your thoughts.
When should I go to sleep if I have to get up early tomorrow? Will I be able to sleep? Will I wake up to my alarm? Will my body be able to adjust to a new rotation? I’ve spent the past month getting to sleep at 3am, now I have to get up at 4am for a new rotation. How am I going to be able to change my body around so much in just two days?
I’ve always been a bad sleeper. I remember as a child trying to sleep on my bedroom floor, the wrong way around in my bed, in the hallway. Just about anything. I remember some nights my dad sitting in my room until I fell asleep. He must have sat there in the dark for ages.
Now, as a shift worker, sleep continues to evade me. I read a lot about how to sleep. There’s a lot out there. Clearly I’m not alone.Here’s my ‘I need to get to sleep’ routine:
Light a couple of candles
Turn on the ‘Relaxation’ playlist on Pandora
Take a hot shower
Brew a pot of T2 Gone Surfing – despite the name, this is a relaxing tea with ingredients including chamomile and lavender
Do about 10-15 minutes of yoga and stretches
Spray a few squirts of In Essence Sleep Easy Pillow Mist around my bed – it includes essential oils Lavender, Chamomile Roman and Valerian
Hope for the best!
I also try to get in an hour nap in the afternoon when I’m working on the breakfast shift. I also do some kind of exercise every day. Sometimes it’s a walk, yoga or pilates class, or a full on session at the gym. It usually depends how I’m feeling that day.Here’s an intersting TED Talk about sleep by Circadian Neuroscientist Professor Russell Foster.
Do you suffer trying to sleep? Do you have any tips/articles/vidoes to share?