While many people are at their energy peak during the middle of the day, for people who work the night shift, it’s imperative that these sun-filled hours are spent sound asleep, recovering and rejuvenating body and mind for the work-night ahead. The trouble is that unless you’re a really good sleeper, you’ll likely find it more difficult to fall asleep during the day than it is at night. This is because the body’s internal clock is naturally wired so that you feel alert during daytime hours. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to improve your daytime sleep quantity and quality.
1. Cut Back on Coffee
Caffeine stays in your system for five to six hours, making it even more difficult to unwind and fall asleep during the day. Avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks during the hours leading up to your daytime sleep. If you’re a shift worker, opt for non-caffeinated beverages during the second half of your shift.
2. Wind Down in Sunglasses
There’s a reason that experts suggest you get outside first thing in the morning. The bright light helps transition your body and brain into “awake” mode, which is great if you want to feel energized for an 8 am meeting, but not ideal if you’re trying to sleep during the day. One smart strategy: Wear sunglasses on the drive home from your night shift so that the morning light is less likely to affect your internal clock.
3. Use Blackout Curtains
Once home, keep your surroundings as dimly lit as possible. Outfit your bedroom with a nightlight or dimmer-style lamps, and try to limit how many lights you turn on throughout the house while you get ready for bed. Use blackout curtains or heavy, dark shades so that the bedroom remains dark.
4. Block Out Noise
Even if your bedroom is quiet at night, daytime sounds can make it difficult to sleep. Use earplugs or a white noise machine to quiet the sounds of everyday life: honking cars, barking dogs, and other neighborhood clatter.