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Healthwords' sleep tips for shift workers – from personal experience

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Sleep is very important and can have a direct impact on your health. Getting a good "night’s" sleep during the day can be challenging for anyone working night shifts. Here at Healthwords we've done a fair amount of night shifts ourselves, with one team member racking up more than a year’s worth of night shifts over the last 6 years of work in the hospital. So here are our top tips on how to give yourself the best chance of getting some good rest during the day.


Try to keep your workplace brightly lit throughout the night shift. It will help you feel more alert and promote better sleep when the time comes. When you do get ready to sleep, try to block out all the natural light in your bedroom for your daytime sleep. Black-out blinds or stick-on black-out covers for windows can be beneficial for this, or invest in a good eye mask if you prefer.

Get your sunglasses out

You may feel silly but trust me on this one, when you are leaving your shift, put on sunglasses (no matter the weather) to block out some of the natural sunlight and UV rays. Sunlight will trick your body into thinking it needs to be awake, making it harder to fall asleep when you get home.

Stick to a routine

Try to stick to a regular sleep-wake pattern as much as possible throughout the night shifts. This gives you the best chance of falling asleep when you want to as your body adapts to the routine.

Time your coffee or caffeine well

Avoid coffee or other caffeine products in the second half of your shift. The half-life of caffeine is around 5 to 6 hours, so that means half the amount of caffeine you drank will still be in your system by 5 hours and can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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