Staying awake at work

Staying awake at work

For many, working shifts can affect our circadian rhythm, the natural body clock which tells us when to sleep and when to wake up each day. Check out these top tips for staying on the ball in your job, even if you’re a little lacking in sleep…

 

Go for an evening stroll

If you work during the night and you’re afraid of feeling sleepy on the job, a great idea is to head out for an evening stroll when it’s still sunny in the evening. The increase in light exposure and fresh air can really help your body to feel awake and ready for the work ahead, giving  you a natural energy boost without the need for caffeine..

Try out some caffeine

Although not the most ideal methods of staying awake, caffeinated beverages really can be life savers when it comes to night shifts and are often a necessary component of working through the night.

An important point to remember is to decrease your caffeine consumption towards the end of your shift, much like you would do if you were working in the day time, this makes it easier to head to bed when you return home and allows your body to regain it’s natural clock at a faster pace.

Keep moving!

If you’re finding yourself sitting at your desk and moving little, it can be much more tempting to fall asleep on the job. A great way to get around this is to get get moving!

Night shits, for many, involve a lot of movement anyway, whether they’re midwife positions of working in the fire service, but if your job is a desk job, it’s best to walk up and down the work place once every half an hour to stay awake. When it hits your lunch break, enjoy your food outside or take a stroll to a local park, this can be great for avoiding the afternoon slump at work.

Ensure Safety

Driving home drowsy after a night shift can be a real hazard, as you tend to be completely exhausted!

Take public transport if you can, or ask a friend or family member to come and get you from your place of work.

Stress and Poor Sleep

Stress and Poor Sleep

Take a look at the key ways in which stress can affect our sleep – as well as a few tips and tricks for beating stress and getting the rest that you deserve.

 

Anxious Thoughts

One of the main side effects of stress is the inability to switch off our minds in the moments before we fall to sleep. General anxiety and worry can cause thoughts to entangle in our brains, causing our sleepless nights. The more we can’t sleep, the more we worry about not sleeping!

Tip

A great way for combatting anxious thoughts is to write down everything you are worrying about before bed and either solve the worries there, or plan how you are going to combat them the next day. Having a plan in place helps you to diminish the worries from your mind.

Inability to Relax

Stress can come with many side effects, including the inability or desire to relax during stressful moments. People suffering with acute stress tend to feel guilty when they stop doing the activity they have been worrying about, leading to tiredness and fatigue.

Tip

Practice self care. Taking just thirty minutes to an hour each day to enjoy self care can really help to stop the feelings of guilt that accompany. Whether it’s having a bath, heading out on a walk or working out, taking time to relax can ultimately help you to sleep more.

Build up of Emotions

Stress can definitely consume people – especially when they are unable to open up and talk about the issue more. Inability to do so usually leads to feelings of isolation and can make falling asleep at night a tricky affair.

Tip

The best way to avoid this is to open up a discussion with friends and family.
Head out for a walk with a person close to you and chat about what has been bothering you. Opening up about the issue can take a lot of pressure off your mind and usually means that you’ll be less anxious at night and more likely to fall asleep.

How to Become An Early Bird

How to Become An Early Bird

Envious of friends and family who can get up in the morning with relative ease? 

 

Don’t worry, everyone is wired differently, and your night owl tendencies exist because that’s how your body likes it.


However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try out a few techniques to make waking up each morning a breeze!

 

Set a Routine

For many, alarm clocks can be a constant source of pain.

Due to modern-day working hours, the majority of us need to wake up early. The only issue is that alarm clocks tend to go off during our sleep cycles.

The majority of us tend to wake groggy and grouchy, clutching our heads and squinting at the sunshine.

Fancy a great way to get around this?

Avoid alarm clocks! Set a nightly routine and head to bed at the same time each evening, this way, you’ll start waking at the same time each morning. For a 7 am get up, head to bed at 10 pm, you’ll head through all your sleep cycles, get your full nine hours, and wake rested and ready for the day…naturally!

Avoid Caffeine

Although this tip might not be for everyone, if you’re serious about sorting your sleep schedule and becoming an early bird, it could be a good idea to ditch the caffeine.

Studies have shown that even stopping caffeine consumption after your midday meal can still have a negative effect on your sleep pattern, and a poor sleep pattern means a rough wake up.

Ditching the caffeine could result in a deeper sleep and an easier getup, everyone is different, but it might be worth trialing no caffeine to see how your body reacts!

Turn off those electronics

Blue light can have a massively negative effect on your overall sleep health as it convinces your body that it is still daylight, leading to poor sleep and difficult wake-ups.

A great way to get around this is to ditch the technology at least one hour before bed, maybe grab a book or listen to an audiobook before you doze.

 

Sleep and Your Immunity

Sleep and Your Immunity

If you’ve ever felt more prone to sickness and feeling ill whilst traveling, stressed or experiencing sleep deprivation, then you’re not imagining it!

 

How sleep affects immunity

When we sleep, immune fighting hormones are released by our bodies, meaning that the longer we sleep for and the quality of sleep that we get, all affect the strength of our immune system.

Sleep doesn’t just affect our immunity when it comes to fighting disease, a lack of sleep can also mean that it can take our bodies longer to recover from illnesses such as the common cold, as our already weakened immune system struggles to fight back.

Although studies into sleep and immunity are still very much on-going, there is substantial evidence so far to prove that a lack of sleep, means a poor immune system.

Sleep is all about recovery, regeneration, and restoration, deprive our bodies of it, and we don’t get the chance to fight off disease.

By ensuring that we get an adequate amount of sleep, we are much more likely to be able to fight off disease, illness and even viruses like the flu. Sleep is all about strength and recovery, both physically and mentally – and there’s nothing like a good nights’ sleep to bolster immunity.

 

Immunity boosting tips:

 

So, aside from getting the adequate amount of sleep in, recommended to be around 7-9 hours, what else can we do in order to boost our immunity?

• Eating a balanced diet. We’ve all heard the saying that vitamin C can massively boost immunity, and it turns out there is substantial truth behind this claim. Ensuring that our diets are rich in fruit and vegetables can really help to bolster our immunity during cold and flu season.

• Minimizing stress. When stress gets chronic, it can definitely take a toll on our immune systems, releasing too much cortisol into our bodies which in turn can damage our immune system. Stress can also cause a reduction in white blood cells, which are essential to our bodies for fighting disease. Minimize stress and boost immunity by tackling the issue, practicing yoga or meditation and establishing a calm and relaxing evening routine.

• Regular exercise. Exercise can be a great way to naturally bolster our immune systems. Not only does it help to relieve stress, it’s also brilliant for effectively flushing bacteria out of our lungs and airways, reducing the risk of infection and possible colds or viruses!

How Well Do You Sleep?

How Well Do You Sleep?

When it comes to sleep, the general consensus is that if you’re in bed for eight hours each night, you’re getting enough. Unfortunately, there are many more factors that contribute to a healthy doze, other than just how many hours you get.

 

How Often Do You Wake In the Night?

There is a big link between waking during the night and a reduction in sleep quality, leading to an increase in tiredness the following day. If you find yourself waking multiple times throughout the night, then your sleep quality is probably low. Combat this by reducing alcohol intake and avoiding caffeine six hours before heading to bed, other techniques could also be to reduce stress, which can, in turn, reduce disruption during sleep.

What percentage of time spent in bed do you actually spend sleeping?

You might be spending eight hours in bed, but there is a high chance that you’re not asleep for that whole length of time. A great way to combat this is to only use your bed for sleep, and disassociate activities such as working and eating from the bedroom. Turn off the TV and electronic devices one hour before bed, and aim to be spending at least 85 percent of your time in bed, asleep, it will really help to improve sleep quality.

How long does it take for you to fall asleep?

Drifting off to slumber in thirty minutes or less tends to be a good indicator of great quality sleep if you’re struggling to sleep after one whole hour, then chances are that you’re suffering from insomnia and a poor quality of rest. Likewise, if you’re finding yourself dropping off to sleep within minutes, your sleep quality is probably low too as you might be experiencing sleep deprivation.

How long do you lie there after waking in the night??

If you’re lying there for more than twenty minutes after waking up in the middle of the night, then chances are that your quality of sleep is pretty poor indeed. Again, seek to make improvements to this by avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed. Another great way to sort this is to reduce fluid intake before falling asleep, this means you’ll be less likely to wake in the night and you’ll probably wake to feel much more rested and content.

Late Night Eating

Late Night Eating

Does the food we eat really affect the way we sleep?

Does it matter how late we eat? Do our bodies need food to sleep?

There have always been questions floating around concerning food and rest, from not eating carbohydrates before bed to avoiding chocolate and heavy meals.  Take a look below as we sort through the myths and get to the truth of which foods can affect sleep, and which foods cannot.

Food contains more calories at night.

FALSE. Day time calories are the same as night time calories, and food is just as beneficial in the evening as it is in the day. As usual, you only gain weight if you are eating more calories than you are actually burning, leading to an increase in fat distribution.
Remember, the time you eat is not as important as the quantity you eat, yet overeating can be avoided with good nights’ sleep.

 

It is advised to finish eating three hours before sleep.

TRUE. If you grow hungry again later into the evening, then opt for a light, carbohydrate-rich snack like a banana or some whole-grain crackers and peanut butter.

 

Skipping breakfast means you eat less in the evening.

FALSE. Skipping the most important meal of the day means that you often experience more hunger than usual in the evening, leading to an over-reliance on sugary food and an increase in food quantity. Ensure that you are getting the sleep you need in order to feel rested and ready for the morning and for preparing breakfast. A good breakfast of slow release carbs can be the best way to avoid an over-reliance on sugar come the evening.

Food gives you nightmares.

TRUE. If you eat just before heading to bed then your body is busy digesting your meal all night long, leading to discomfort and wakefulness throughout the night and often a bloated feeling come the morning. Opt for finishing your meal a few hours before heading to bed to wake in the morning bloat-free and rested.

 

 

 

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