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How can I sleep well when working night shift?

29 Answers
Last Updated: 09/23/2020 at 2:50pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Danielle Gonzales, PsyD


Hello! My name is Dani, I am a Psychologist and registered Psych Assistant. I have a passion for helping a different types of clients from all diverse backgrounds!

Top Rated Answers
November 13th, 2014 5:12pm
Black-out curtains/blinds really help. Don't sleep right away when getting home. Minimize looking at computer/LCD/phone screens.
February 4th, 2016 6:34am
After your night shift is done, allow your body a couple of hours of relaxation/decompression time, just as you would do after any other shift. Since daylight will approach soon, try to sleep in a room with no windows (or thick, dark curtains over the windows that allow *no* sunlight to penetrate the room). Any type of outdoor light that is perceived by your pineal gland will instantly disrupt your sleep/wake cycles and melatonin flow. You may be tempted to eat a heavy meal after your shift, but you should avoid this if you plan to sleep. Eat as light of a meal as possible. You should eat your largest meal prior to work, or even during your lunch break at work. Also, experiment with Isochronic Tones -- specifically, Delta wave patterns (you can find these for free on YouTube) which can induce a deep sleep quickly. Isochronic tones don't require headphones, and the videos can be as long as eight hours long. I use them frequently, and I work the night shift. The very last thing is to get a loud alarm clock to wake you up after your eight to ten-hour-long sleep. If you have any questions, send me a message!
May 2nd, 2017 1:51pm
My dad recently just got into a new job and he does the graveyard shift like five days out of the seven. He honestly sleeps right when he gets home and he doesn't wake up until late during the day like when I get home from school and all. Your sleep is very important so please do not take that for granted or push it to another day or what have you.
October 31st, 2014 11:44am
Get into a good habit of sleeping, and try not to eat, exercise or exert your brain too much before going to sleep.
April 29th, 2015 6:50am
Working a night shift can definitely take a toll on your ability to sleep well, and normally requires an adjustment period if you've been on a fixed schedule for a while. However, getting good rest on this type of schedule is not impossible. One important thing to do is to take a look at everything you need to get done in a day, whether it be bills, cleaning, taking care of your family, etc and creating a plan. Make sure you are budgeting enough time for everything you need to take care of while leaving plenty of room for sleep. It always helps to be on top of things. Watch your diet and caffeine intake, and also try and get more exercise. Assuming that your sleeping will be done during daylight hours, I also highly recommend blocking out as much light as possible in your bedroom. Normal blinds and curtains can work, but the most efficient route is to invest in complete blackout curtains. Just making your room dark as possible is a natural and effective way to "trick" your mind into thinking it's nighttime, and stimulate those sleepy feelings. If all else fails or you need a little boost, talk to your doctor about using all natural sleep aids, such as melatonin.
October 27th, 2014 3:11pm
Planning your sleep around when you work can help you to maximise the amount of sleep you can get so that you're not too tired to work late
October 29th, 2014 11:54am
Try to make your bedroom really dark. Get dark curtains, and turn all the lights off. Darkness produces a hormone that induces sleep.
November 7th, 2014 1:53pm
Meditation can help with relaxation after work to help you to sleep, not to much caffeine. Some studies have shown it will take longer to fall asleep after you check facebook or other stimulating media.
November 18th, 2014 5:00pm
If doing the night shift for a long(ish) period of time, you should get a strict routine. Have meals like you would have them during the day, so breakfast before going out, and then supper when you get in from work - make sure you use black-out curtains so it's very dark when you try and sleep, and keep to a schedule!
October 30th, 2014 2:45am
Some people can do this well, some cannot. The body has a sleep wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. There is a lot of stuff called Sleep Hygiene that points us how to sleep well but shift working turns that on its ear. There is a natural product called Melatonin that can help you get to sleep. Melatonin is a natural chemical your brain makes at sleep time to help you sleep. Taking a melatonin tablet might just trick your brain into thinking its sleep time. Drugs that are designed to help you sleep might just make the problem worse and give you a hang over which is dangerous if you drive or operate machinery. If you find changing from night to day and back again on a cycle of shift work is not letting you sleep, then perhaps shift work is not your ideal. I know that is not what you want to hear and its not a great solution for finances when its your job... but you have few options. Its also worth nothing that shift workers on average live ten years less than the general population. I was a shift worker being both a baker and later, a nurse. Now I cannot work shifts. Jet Lag is the same as shift work. It takes me over a week to get my sleep pattern back into order now so working shifts is out of the question. Full time night shift is fine but then you have to always sleep during the day in a dark room even on your days off. Otherwise you will throw your sleep pattern out again. I hope that helps and sorry if its not good news.
November 21st, 2016 2:24pm
Well, when I worked night shift, I worked it that I would run any errands I needed to run (as quickly as I could run them), come home and eat a quick meal (nothing big, maybe just a bowl of cereal or some yogurt) and then I would go to bed for the 'night.' I had those shading curtains in my room that doesn't let light in so it got as dark as possible and I really did as much as I could to relax (putting relaxation music on to drown out any city traffic). and I'd sleep from about 9am-3pm. Sometimes I'd sleep less, sometimes more.... and if I did get a nap in on those days where I slept less, then, great! Hope that helps....
January 31st, 2016 9:27pm
If you work the night shift regularly, then you'll eventually adjust. It helps if you sleep in a dark room, or a room with room darkening curtains or something like that. It would help even more if you went to bed at the same time every day! Hope this helps.
November 15th, 2014 12:17am
Try as hard as you can go get enough sleep the night before and avoid making plans for the following day so you have ample time to recover. Take good care of yourself.
January 29th, 2016 5:59am
get all the hours of sleep that you need, nap during the day if you have to. dim the environment that you are sleeping in and get rid of noises (you can use ear plugs) i find exercise useful, as it makes you tired enough to sleep, but don't engage in it just before sleeping, as it agitates your system. good luck :)
February 4th, 2016 4:07am
Curtains that are thick and block out the light properly, and earplugs for sound if noise is an issue. Other than that make sure your comfortable and hopefully get used to the new routine
February 6th, 2016 1:41pm
Well minimum six hours of sleep is enough for us to feel refreshed. So you can sleep 8 hours prior to your shift begins. The remaining two hours will be good and enough for you to prep. This way you will feel refreshed while going to work. If you sleep after your shift ends you will feel tired and boring till you reach your shift. So waking up 2 hours prior to work will be good.
October 26th, 2014 4:19pm
Try to get a biorithem.. since you can't sleep during nights always go to sleep at 8 (for example), and after time your body will get used to it and you will sleep better
November 5th, 2014 3:36am
Ask your doctor about medications that can help you sleep to adjust to your schedule. If you are uncomfortable with prescriptions ask about a natural way to help you sleep.
November 18th, 2014 4:48pm
Sleep during the day. And I know that seems a bit obvious, but try making it night time in your house. Them you can trick your brain into sleeping well
April 10th, 2015 6:54pm
that is where you need to sleep during morning till day - plan your day very well before you go to night shift and its not easy to do ...especially if you are an owl person then no problem but if you are beginner you might not want to have night shift .job or work .in case.
May 9th, 2015 3:52pm
Sleep during the day to keep your energy, This will make sure you are ready and have full energy to get through the night shift
January 22nd, 2016 6:06pm
If you want to sleep well on the night shift you have to take naps on your day off and sleep immediately when you get home.
January 22nd, 2016 9:57pm
I would suggest getting blackout curtains for light, and double-glazing to block out sound. Maybe play a white noise tape if that helps. Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol for the last three hours before you sleep, more if you can manage it. If you go on and off the night shift over the course of a month, try taking a few days before you go on it to adjust to the timings- go to bed a few hours early one day, afternoon the next, and lunchtime the next day. It's annoying, but sometimes necessary.
January 27th, 2016 11:02pm
Find a time between the time you come home to the time you go to work. For example if your night shift is at 9pm-3am once you get home just eat something and shower and go to sleep for at least 4-8 hours. Try not to overwork yourself between the free time you have from waking up to the time you have to go to work.Over working will cause more tiredness.
January 29th, 2016 12:05pm
If you allocate time to sleep during the day you will then be able to stay awake during a night shift allowing your body to be better at functioning.
January 31st, 2016 2:44pm
Sleep in the afternoon because you will be working at night where you regularly should be asleep. Good luck
April 18th, 2016 10:59pm
Get black out curtains and a noise machine. Or wear something to cover your ears and drown out the sound. Try to give your eyes a 30 minute rest from a phone or screen And , if you can, stretch before you lay down to sleep.
May 31st, 2016 7:09am
Get a mask to wear when you're sleeping in the day to block out any daylight. Go to bed and wake up at the same times. Eventually your body rhythm will change and you'll get used to the new sleeping hours :)
September 23rd, 2020 2:50pm
Being a night shift worker can have a drastic implications on fatigue. Research has reinforced that more night-shift workers experience metabolic syndrome than day shift workers (1.8%). Cardiac signals can disrupt neural systems which means the individual will experience fluctuations in hormonal levels such as increase in insulin and decrease in serotonin (chemical which makes the brain “happy”). ( During 12 hour night shifts systolic and dystopia blood pressure increases (Su et al 2008). Research by American Journal of nursing ( ) has informed that a white noise machine, ear plugs can be used to manage sleep better. Further ways to limit distribution of sleep involve opaque windows under doorways and over windows to prevent light from coming in, wearing wrap-around sunglasses at home, and avoidance of certain foods many hours before going to sleep (spicy, heavy foods).