Well the summer is finally here and we are enjoying sporadic sunshine. However we can now experience one of the problems night workers tackle daily. This morning I was woken at 4:40 by the dawn. Sunshine was streaming in around my blinds and the birds were celebrating the sun with a singing competition. To me this was a minor annoyance, and seeing the sun after days of rain and overcast skies makes up for the inconvenience.
However night workers have to be able to sleep and get good quality sleep when the sun is streaming in and surrounded by the noise of daily life. There are lots of things you can do to help yourself sleep during the day.
If you want to get a good quality sleep first think about your environment. You spend a third of your life sleeping, so your bedroom should be designed to help you sleep. First things first, is the bed. The difference between sleeping in a comfortable bed and roughing it are pronounced. So invest in a good bed. Then there is the rest of the room, a bedroom, is not an office, storage room or an extension of your living room. Your bedroom should be relaxing and uncluttered. It is always easier to fall asleep in a cool room which is light and airy. Too cold and you spend the night shivering. Too warm and you just feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
The light levels need to be reduced for sleep. Black out curtains are great at reducing the light levels on those rare sunny days. But I find it is not so much light that disturbs my sleep as a change in the light levels. The stray light of the morning sunshine peaking in round my blinds or a lamp left on, doesn’t affect my sleep half as much as the annoying blinking of the pin prick of light my phone gives off.
As for noise levels, what would be ideal is a sound proof room, but people tend to look at you a bit strangely if you cover your bedroom walls with egg boxes. So why not try filling up the background with soothing sounds, the rainforest or white noise. What you need is something that is not jerky or harsh. If you have ever tried to fall asleep with a fan or an annoying pump in the background, you will know how load they can get in the stillness of the night. What you need is something to mask out the outside noises and help you relax.
Always remember that it is important to get good quality rest if you hope to operate effectively and enjoy the sunshine while we have it. My new book “The Office After Dark” will be out in the Autumn and is designed to help night workers get the most out of their shifts.