Mayo Clinic: I started working a night shift six months ago,
and I just canít get enough sleep. Iím having a hard time
staying asleep during the day. Most days, I get five hours of
sleep or less. What can I do to get more sleep? Iím worried
that lack of sleep is going to affect my health.
Trying to sleep during the day rather than at night can be
difficult. As youíve found out, humans naturally are wired
to be awake during the day and sleep at night. But there are
steps you can take to help your body adjust and get the sleep
body has an internal sleep-wake rhythm. In most people, that
rhythm generally fits a 24-hour cycle. Because of your
sleep-wake rhythm, you get sleepy at certain times of the day
and become more alert at other times. The main influence on
this rhythm is exposure to external light.
work often presents sleep problems because the timing is a
mismatch between your bodyís biological sleep-wake cycle and
the schedule required by your job. When you have to work, your
internal rhythm wants you to sleep. When you are done working
and you want to sleep, your body thinks itís time to be
your body get enough sleep, first, stay consistent. Go to bed
and get up at the same time each day, including on your days
off. This will allow your body to adapt to your schedule.
Changing your sleep schedule when you donít work makes it
much more difficult for your body to adjust, making it less
likely you will get the sleep you need over time.
go to work, surround yourself with plenty of bright light. If
you drink caffeine, do it early in your shift. If the sun
starts to rise during your commute home, wear dark sunglasses
to dim the external light. As soon as you arrive home, go to
bed. If you delay, it will be more difficult to get to sleep.
your bedroom environment to help you sleep. Keep it dark,
covering the windows with room-darkening shades or curtains to
block out any external light. Wearing a sleep mask over your
eyes also may be useful. Adjust the temperature in your room
so it is cool and comfortable.
surroundings should be quiet. If other family members are home
when you sleep, ask them to respect your need to rest. If
possible, sleep in a room located away from family areas that
can get noisy. Unplug or turn off phones and other electronic
devices so you are not disturbed.
a healthy, active lifestyle also can promote healthy sleep.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Although
alcohol can make it easier to fall asleep faster, it makes it
harder to stay asleep. Exercise regularly.
adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every 24 hours. Few
people can function well on five hours or less. Without enough
sleep, your health may suffer. You probably already know that
lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, irritability and difficulty
concentrating. But, over time, people who donít get the
sleep they need also may be at higher risk for other health
problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and
try these tips consistently for two weeks and still have
problems getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor. He or she
may be able to give you additional suggestions for steps you
can take to adjust your bodyís sleep-wake rhythm.