Shift work and jet lag
Shift work and jet lag throw the body clock out of sync, leaving you awake and drowsy when your body wants to be asleep, and struggling to sleep when you ought to be awake. Consequently, shift-workers and frequent travellers rarely get the sleep they need.
To reduce the effects of jet lag:
- Try to get a night flight and sleep on the plane.
- Set your watch to the destination time as soon as you board the plane.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol on the flight.
- Fit in with local time as soon as you arrive and don't sleep until 10 pm local time.
- Use an alarm clock so you don't oversleep.
- Follow the guidelines on this site for sleep hygiene.
- Aim to get to bed as soon as possible after your shift has finished.
- Try to get a forward-rotating shift, which is easier for your body to cope with than one rotating backwards.
- Ask your employer about hiring a light box to help regulate body rhythms. Twenty minutes exposure to full-spectrum light at the start of a shift can improve your mood and alertness while you're awake, and help you sleep better later on.
- Melatonin or sleeping pills may help when you change shifts.
Page created on February 28th, 2010
Page updated on March 10th, 2010