Working the graveyard shift can be difficult enough on its own, but one of the major problems is simply getting to sleep. When you sleep during the day, you need to content with everything from bright sunlight to the loud noises of your neighbors. Here are a few tips for getting the sleep you need without disrupting your schedule.
1. Try Some White Noise
White noise is designed to drown out surrounding noise, though it isn't for everyone. If you find that ear plugs alone don't work for you, you may want to add some white noise.
The ear plugs will dampen sound around you to a safe and manageable level, while the white noise will make it harder to pick out any distinct (and therefore disturbing) sounds. When paired together, they can be quite effective even in loud cities.
2. Invest in the Right Ear Plugs
Cheap dollar store ear plugs aren't likely to be effective. Not only do you want high quality sleeping ear plugs, but you also want to avoid ear plugs that aren't expressly designed for sleeping.
Sleeping ear plugs are intended to be comfortable even when you're lying down, whereas other ear plugs (such as those intended for concerts) may be either uncomfortable or ineffective. You also don't want to drown out all sound when you're sleeping, because there could be an emergency!
3. Get the Lighting Right
Blackout drapes are almost critical for good sleep during the day. Daylight tells your brain to wake up; after all, it's morning. Blackout drapes will let you get to sleep, while an alarm light (which reproduces the sun's light rising) will help you gently wake up rather than having to wake up abruptly.
4. Invest in Some Melatonin
With your doctor's permission, you can try some of the common over-the-counter remedies for sleep, including melatonin. Melatonin is a supplement that mimics the body's natural response to exhaustion. It can be used to control your sleep cycles when taking a little bit before you need to go to bed.
Though there are prescription medications made to encourage sleep, they can be a little more disruptive and potentially habit-forming.
Of course, graveyard shift work isn't for everyone; if you find that it's seriously damaging your ability to get sleep, you may want to inquire with your physician. Nevertheless, the above tips should at least be enough to get you to sleep so you can wake up and get to work on time. For more information on finding comfortable sleeping ear plugs, contact your local sleep center.