Then when you begin the night shift, your body will already be getting ready for the new schedule. Try to avoid long commutes that take time away from sleeping. 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. 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. This strategy might shock you if you had been relying too much on caffeine during your night shifts. Overall minimization of end of shift tasks is important. This is how I do it! 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. The rest of our clients use different shift times than 8, 10 or 12. 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. The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift. Sleep deprivation and deficiency. How to Set a Night Work Sleep Schedule. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. I usually work 2-3 shifts together and then have a day or two off. Soon you are going to rotate to a night shift. A 2011 study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that 1 in 4 nurses were doing just that, choosing to go without sleep for up to 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift. 12 hour shifts are used by approximately 40% of our clients. You might, for example, find yourself spending a chunk of your time off recovering from your time on. Working at night has the combined problems of prolonged wakefulness (often working 8 to 12-hour shifts) and circadian misalignment (working at a time of night when you would normally be asleep). National Sleep Foundation. Night: 1900-0700. Circadian rhythm disorders. Sometimes I read articles on how to sleep while working nights that dogmatically dictate a certain sleep schedule. Split sleep schedules have recently begun to emerge as a potential alternative to continuous night shift work. 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. Cleveland Clinic. Improve your sleep on a shift-based schedule. See the chart below for an example. But, realistically, the same thing just doesn’t work everyone. For example, you may be working an evening shift. Action: Minimize unnecessary or complex tasks at the end of shifts. Night: 1800-0600. or. While a few true night owls prefer this schedule, working the night shift is challenging for most nurses. Sleep duration and difficulty was greatest on night shift. See 7 different 12-hour shift rotation examples here . For many, adopting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a bedroom environment conducive to rest can have a huge impact. They make scheduling a bit simpler since you are only dealing with 2 shift times. 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