It’s mid summer, on this side of the world. That means long, hot days of sitting in sun, sipping iced drinks, maybe a cold beer, and enjoying the glorious summer sunshine … if you’re lucky! But what about nightshift workers?
For a large group of shift workers, long hot sunny days are the last thing they need!. Trying to sleep on long hot days is a nightmare! Some of our users have been talking about it on social media. And it’s clear that some parts of the world have it worse than others. As our Facebook user Warren Flay told us this week:
“50 degrees Celsius here at 1pm. Good luck sleeping in Death Valley UAE!”
Sleeping in the heat
It’s not quite that hot elsewhere, but anyone who has tried it knows that hot days are the worst days to try and sleep.
Not only do you have to put up with the heat, and the ever present sunlight, but also neighbours enjoying their gardens, building work, birds, and a host of other annoyances that make summer daytime sleeping particularly awful.
There are things you can try though. And plenty of our users, and others on the net have ideas, tips and warnings for you midsummer night shift workers out there.
Prepare at the end of your shift
Going straight to bed the minute you get in is something many of our users try to avoid. The general consensus seems to be to make some time to get yourself ready before diving straight into bed. One Facebook user told us he tries to have a shower before leaving.
“Driving home after an 8 hour night shift can be scary, try a 12!! Then it regularly that way! A shower before leaving make the world of difference though.”
Not everyone can do this, but a walk or swim, food, or just some relaxation time can really help prepare yourself for proper downtime.
“A hot shower really helps. So does a hot cup of cocoa, and taking half an hour to unwind after walking in the door.” Allnurses.com
These are something that everybody recommends these! They might be expensive but the consensus is that blackout blinds are worth every penny.
“Blackout blinds – these are a must to trick your body a bit!” Mumsnet
Add in ear plugs to that!
For some cutting out the noise is vital.
“Properly made to measure ear plugs. They cost £100 but they are so comfy you don’t know you’re wearing them. Musicians use them – and me when I’ve done a night shift.” Mumsnet
Others need more noise not less.
“White noise generators are great for blocking out background noise. I use an air ioniser, which generates a low whirring sound that cancels out everything else.”
Try a mixture of things
Barry Coull commentated on our Facebook page told us his methods for trying to sleep in the heat.
“Summer night shifts are the worst. I used to wear eye mask & take herbal sleeping tablets.”
But some people, of course, go for something stronger than herbal sleeping tablets. As one former Paediatric Medical Officer from a well known Auckland children’s hospital told us:
“Lots of people in the medical profession use sleeping tablets of one sort or another. But any drug like that has to be prescribed and used responsibly. I have resorted to a half dose sleeping tablet, but only very occasionally when sleep really was elusive. It’s very easy to become reliant, and then dependent, so it’s best to consult a doctor before trying them.
Some of my colleagues swore by Ibuprofen, and it is a muscle relaxant, but, once again, too many over too long a period can be harmful to kidneys and can have side effects.
The best thing to do is find other processes that help you sleep, and only resort to medical assistance if it is becoming such a problem that it’s affecting work and your own safety at work. And always, always talk to your GP or a doctor before you do anything.”
The full works
Some people try everything they can.
“Blackout blinds, earplugs, ‘sunrise’ type alarm clock/light, anti-histamine such as sominex, no phones!” Allnurses.com
But even then, sleeping in midsummer just isn’t easy!
“I have black out curtains, a fan on to block out noise, and it never gets any easier for me. I’ve been working nights for over ten years. I have noticed it’s becoming harder the older I get though and it’s starting to affect my health and relationships cuz I’m always crabby from never resting well but I feel like I spend a great deal of time in bed!!!! ?” Allnurses.com
What works for you?
When it comes to sleeping at night, there are all kinds of methods. Why not tell us about yours and what works for you? It could help out your fellow mid summer sufferers this year.