Healthbeat 4: How to sleep better when working an overnight shif - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: How to sleep better when working an overnight shift


It's common that Americans working the standard 9 to 5 don't get enough sleep. 

In fact, 35 percent of people don't get the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended seven hours of sleep each night. 

However, for some night shift workers it's even harder.    

That's because they're fighting their natural 24 hour body clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which is regulated by light.  

"When it gets dark out we start getting sleepy and when it gets light out we get more awake," said Mark Raymond, Mercy Medical Center Sleep Lab Tech, "Which is regulated by melatonin which is in the brain and is known as the sleep hormone."

Raymond says there are some ways to train and get your body use to sleeping during the day. 

One is doing light therapy.

Light therapy can be done by using a light box or lamp to suppress the production of melatonin and help you stay alert.

Second, it's important to practice good sleep hygiene. 

That includes a consistent sleep schedule, not consuming caffeine or alcohol too close to going to bed or eating a large meal before bed either. 

Another tip, go to bed right when you get off of work.

And finally, Raymond says since overnight workers are fighting their natural sleep pattern, it's helpful to take a nap for an hour or so right before work. 

Raymond says health problems tend to increase for people working an overnight or rotating shift.

"The problems that they have are multiplied usually and some of it's hormonal and some it is lact of sleep," said Raymond, "On the average they might be more obese, they may have more gasterolintestinal problems, might not have good eating habits and lack of sleep can leave to mode disorders, anxiety and depression."

Sleep experts say it's important to be consitient with your sleep schedule even on the weekends. 

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