My pre-second night shift post on the perils of lack of sleep and evidence based practices on how to optimise it.
Do you work shifts? While in an ideal world we should all be sleeping 7-9 hours a night to fuel our mental health and over health, let's be honest, life is just not that straight forward.
This doesn't mean we cannot practice sleep hygiene to optimise our kip.
Please recognise that sleep is not: "for when we are dead" or "it's a waste of time only for the weak". Sleep is essential to support our immune system & brain health.
I really struggle with my night shifts, but I learnt a few evidence based practices the last decade in medical training that help me achieve best sleep on nights.
Why should you bother to improve your sleep?
Short duration and disrupted sleep correlates with:
- Elevated BMI
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Obesity - twice increased risk.
- Increased Cardiovascular risk and mortality.
- Metabolic Syndrome
Action points for better sleep and better health:
- Eye mask! A must!
- Mouth tape! If you are a mouth breather who snores start taping! A must! Check out free learning videos about the importance of nasal breathing here: Buteyko Clinic International . Yep I tape every night! Will post more about this soon.
- When you are leaving your shift in the morning, make sure you wear sunglasses because sunlight reduces your natural melatonin levels.
- Don't use sleeping tablets or alcohol to assist your sleep because even if you get to fall asleep quicker your sleep architecture will be ruined by them and your sleep quality will be broken anyways.
- Avoid high sodium foods close to bed time as it affects vascular tone, and thus vasodilation (which reduces peripheral temperatures assisting in getting you to sleep faster)
- Make sure you drink enough all night long especially late into the morning because it helps vasodilator thus once again, effects your temp.
- Take a bath before bed.
Do you suffer from poor sleep hygiene, bad sleep quality or insomnia ?
Check out our educational video on sleep by Sleep Consultant Nicholas Witton and Adrian Jeyakumar to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayi8g6827Os&t=3508s