Working night shifts is certainly not easy. Odd hours can take a mental and physical toll on your employees if they arent able to adapt to their new schedule.
As their employer, you should take it upon yourself to give your employees helpful advice as to how they can adapt to working night shifts without sacrificing their health or damaging their productivity.
So, with that in mind, lets take a look at a few of the tips you can give to your employees to help them accommodate their difficult work schedules.
Tips for Working Night Shifts
Working night shifts, long hours, or other odd shifts have been associated with a number of mental and physical health issues primarily fatigue, lack of alertness, depression, and more.
As a manager, its your job not only to ensure your employees are productive but also to make sure your employees are safe and healthy.
To do this, consider sharing the following tips with your employees to help them adapt to working night shifts.
Encourage Healthy Sleep Patterns
First and foremost, you should be sure to stress the importance of sticking to healthy sleep patterns to your employees.
Our bodies are regulated by an internal clock, which, among other things, regulates our sleep patterns. This is the reason why we naturally want to fall asleep at night time.
Of course, when working night shifts, your employees are essentially resetting their circadian rhythms. When you disrupt this internal clock, it can cause you to feel a lack of alertness, fatigued, and generally out of sorts.
In addition to encouraging your employees to stick to healthy sleep patterns, you can help them do this through consistent scheduling. Rotate your employees schedules month-to-month, making their start and end time the same for one month, then alternating with other employees.
Other tips for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule include-
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Avoid smoking before bed
- Use blackout curtains and sleep masks during the day
- Sleep at least seven to nine hours per night
This will help your employees develop regular sleep patterns so that they can remain well-rested and alert at work.
Control Light Exposure
Light can serve as a signal to your body. Your body produces melatonin at night to induce sleep and suppresses melatonin during the day to help you remain alert.
Moreover, its been shown that employees working night shifts can improve their sleep habits by exposing themselves to bright lights throughout the night and suppressing their exposure to light during the day.
By, for example, working in a brightly-lit environment and wearing sunglasses on the way home, you may find it much easier to sleep during the day.
Moreover, blue light from electronic devices and artificial lighting has been found to disrupt circadian rhythms, potentially resulting in a variety of health issues.
To help your night shift employees with this, be sure to keep all working spaces well-lit and encourage your employees to limit their exposure to bright lights when at home during the day.
Be Cognizant of Diet
Working night shifts doesnt just affect your employees sleep schedules it can also impact their metabolisms. Night shift workers, for example, are more likely than other workers to become overweight due to poor diet.
To avoid these effects, managers should encourage their employees to be conscious about what they eat, prioritizing foods that grant energy and vital nutrients and making sure to eat frequently throughout the day.
Make sure to give your employees an adequate amount of time to eat throughout their shifts, and consider stocking common areas with healthy snacks for your employees to enjoy.
Nap Before a Shift
Working night shifts presents many challenges fatigue being one of the biggest. While maintaining healthy sleep patterns can help, it might not always be enough to ensure that your employees are able to fight back against fatigue.
As such, you should encourage your workers to take naps before their night shifts. Taking a nap before work can actually increase the brains learning capacity and help employees remain alert and productive during the night.
Its important to note, though, that these naps should generally be 45 minutes or less. Otherwise, you risk falling into and waking up from a deep sleep, which may result in even worse fatigue.
Use Caffeine Wisely
Its no secret that most workers rely on caffeine to give them a boost of energy in the morning, and night shift workers can do the same to help them get through the long night.
Using caffeine moderately can be very effective in boosting your energy levels, helping you stay alert and active at work.
However, while most people tend to drink an excessive amount of caffeine immediately before going to work, it may be more effective for your employees to consume smaller, more frequent doses of caffeine throughout their shifts.
As a manager, you can help your employees by-
- Bringing coffee to work for your employees
- Buying gift cards to coffee shops for your employees
- Purchasing a coffee maker for employees to use at work
Of course, every person is different, so your employees will have to find the practices and methods
that effectively help them adapt to working night shifts.
Still, as their manager, you can do a lot to help your employees maintain a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance starting with sharing these helpful and effective tips for working night shifts.