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Sleep Strategies for the Night Shift

Written by Lauren Long

If you ever work the night shift, you probably find it hard to stay awake. Before you get caught sleeping on the job, read on for sleep advice.
If you work the night shift, your biological clock may never know what time it is, which means it doesn't know when to let you fall asleep.

Research also shows that daytime sleep is not as restful as night sleep and, as a result, you may end up chronically sleep-deprived.

There are steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep and help your body adjust to shift work, according to A Woman's Guide to Sleep, by Joyce Walsleben, Ph.D., former director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York University, and Rita Baron-Faust.

If you're tired of working day and night, try their five tips for better sleep:

1. If your schedule rotates, don't flip-flop between day and night shifts. It's OK to work the day shift followed by an evening shift. But you want to avoid working the night shift one day and the day shift the next.

2. Get increased exposure to indoor lighting at night. To mimic daytime, increase the brightness of any lights that may be dimmed at night. (If you work in a windowless office, this is also a good way to get additional light during the day.)

3. After working an overnight shift, wear sunglasses on the way home to decrease exposure to light.

4. If it is hard to sleep in the morning, try sleeping after lunch when your natural energy dips.

5. Take a nap after dinner to remain more alert on the job and reduce your sleep debt.

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