I work the night shift, so my sleep time is usually the opposite of what normal working people do. I stay up all night and sleep all day. When I leave work, it is 5 in the morning, so there is hardly any light in the morning and it would still equate to night. But I live 3 trips away from the office so I am always aware of the sunrise time. I always try to get off immediately at 5 in the morning to avoid daylight as my eyes hurt when it happens. Still, some days the sun’s rays catch me somehow.
There is nothing wrong with getting caught in the sunlight. I am not a vampire who burns when sunlight touches my skin. But I am certainly a vampire in many ways. My eyes hurt in the bright light in the morning after work and my biological clock resets to daytime.
More about the body clock, according to scientific research, the body’s signal to sleep is associated with the brain’s ability to detect light and dark. When it is night, the brain detects darkness, so it automatically signals the hormonal glands to release sleep hormones and bombard the body with them. When daylight comes, the brain can also detect daylight, so it signals the body to wake up. This is the normal function of the body to sleep.
What if you’re like me who works the night shift? Well, the body clock mechanism changes. At first, you will fight the usual feelings of drowsiness and tell you that it is so difficult to fight it while you are still adjusting. You may choke on caffeine, loud music, or stronger willpower to stay awake during work hours. Have you ever noticed why at the end of each shift, when daylight comes, you feel rejuvenated and the urge to fall asleep is gone? Well, it is the work of the brain that detects the light and therefore also illuminates the body.
Now the real problem is not staying up all night to work, the real problem is sleeping during the day. Sleeping during the day is incomparable to sleeping at night. This is because in a tropical country we live in, the Philippines, the daylight is literally wide and unbearable. The sun is very proud and that is why it shines all day, spreading its heat over the earth. So expect a lot of sleep like in the oven. Your room will be nothing more than a small room from hell. Another unpleasant thing about sleeping during the day is the noise of busy people going about their daily routines. If you live in a densely populated area, such as the squatter area, then you are very lucky to enjoy the everlasting annoyance of people buzzing through your walls. Good luck sleeping soundly and quietly.
If you suffer from insomnia at any time you sleep, there is help. I have tried some modifications to write my environment and make it conducive to sleep. Here are some:
1. Cover the windows with dark colored curtains or fabrics. Blocking the light from the window will create an illusion of darkness that will signal to the brain that it is dark and it is time to sleep.
2. Make your bedroom a haven for sleeping. This means that you should eliminate anything that could distract you. Remove TVs, computers, Ipads, etc. Anything that can stimulate your brain or entertain you. Make your bedroom only for sleeping.
3. Eat a light meal before bed. Eat carbohydrates like crackers and drink milk. These two foods combined release serotonins into the blood that can cause drowsiness and drowsiness. Being hungry while you sleep will wake you up in the middle of sleep because your body craves food.
4. Sleep at the same time every day. Get in the habit of conditioning your mind to sleep at the same time each day, so your body knows when to signal the system that it’s time to turn it off. Conditioning your mind means that you have to make the effort to really tone your thoughts. The mind is a very powerful thing.
5. When you are in bed, stop thinking about what to do when you wake up. Don’t think about the future and don’t worry about anything else in your life. Think SLEEP. Just that thought and nothing else.
6. If you are still awake 20 minutes after going to bed, get up and read a book, write down your thoughts, or do something extremely boring until you get tired and go back to sleep.
7. Take a warm bath. The rise in temperature will relax you and make you want to go back to bed.
8. If you have very noisy neighbors, talk to them beforehand and explain your case. I used to suffer from the screams of my neighbor’s children all day. Until one day I talked to their parents and also to the children to play somewhere else because I sleep during the day. Well guess what, it really works! Try it!
9. Turn on your electric fan or better yet your air conditioner. It will be annoying when heat creeps up on you while you sleep. You will be disturbed in the middle of your sleep.
10. If all else fails and you can’t modify your place, it’s about time you found a quiet place to stay. If you have the luxury and freedom, move to another place where you can have the tranquility and peace that you deserve. Move to some rural part of the city and enjoy the serenity it offers. Of course, you would have to consider rent and other independent living expenses. But hey! Don’t despair, the night shift pays a lot, so you may want to consider this option if it gives you more rest. Right?
Despite taking all of these steps above to achieve a satisfying sleep, it’s time to change jobs. Maybe you’re not on the night shift schedule. It’s not for everyone and you certainly don’t want to keep fighting your natural rhythm if you can’t adjust to it in time. You may want to consider going back to a day job.
Well, as for me, I have tried all of the above. Good thing it works for me. Hope it works for you too. The body is capable of adapting to many more things than you can imagine. More importantly, you should always listen to it and follow its natural course. If it’s not working for you, no matter how you try to adjust, don’t sacrifice your health for it. What is it like to be rich if you cannot enjoy your wealth due to poor health? But of course, if you take good care of yourself and your well-being, you will reap a healthy, happy and long life.
=) Stay happy.