Sleep Routine

A sleep routine might seem impossible without the luxury of a constant schedule. Even if you’re stuck rotating shifts, there are ways to get the most out of sleeping hours. The most important thing you can do is be consistent with your routine.

1) Go to bed right when you get home from work. I know it’s tempting to grab a beer, turn on the tv or even the computer, but heading to bed as soon as you walk in every time lets your body know it’s time for sleep. But seriously, no screens as it interferes with falling asleep.

2) Take a warm shower or bath to relax. Stepping out will also begin to cool down your internal temperature, signaling it’s a good time to sleep.

3) Try to sleep the same time every shift. I know some of you rotate shifts (ugh dupont) but every night shift, be in bed by 6:30am and wake up at 1:30pm for example. This allows you the minimum seven hours and you have plenty of time to enjoy your day, accomplish what you need and make it to work on time.

4) Wake up by exposing yourself to light (heh, put on some underwear in case your neighbors are walking the dogs out front ya perv.) I know it’s tempting to sit in the dark basement all day and zone out but going outside or even opening all the curtains can help signal your body it’s time to wake up and you’ll feel more alert going into the day.

An example routine might be:
6:00am Clock out
6:00 – 6:10am Drive home
6:10 – 6:15am Close curtains, turn phone to do not disturb, get in bed
6:30am – 1:30pm Sleep
1:30pm – 1:45pm Wake up, open curtains, move around

Need tips for how to set up your room for daytime sleeping? Check out this post.

Daytime Sleeping

One of the biggest struggles with shift work is the weird sleeping hours. If you’ve been struggling with exhaustion, depending on massive amounts of caffeine to get going and just feel like shit in general – try some of these to get the best sleep during daylight hours.

1) Darkness Calls

Darkness signals to our body it’s time to make melatonin, the key hormone in regulating our internal clock. Invest in a good set of black out curtains. They shouldn’t allow in slivers of light or much noise if fit properly. And if you can’t find a good pair, follow the lead of those questionable houses and put pieces of cardboard or foam over your windows. Purchasing a sleep mask is also a great option if you can’t make your room dark enough.

2) Cool Off

Turn on the overhead fan, bring in an oscillating fan or keep the thermostat low during the day. Your body temperature tends to drop slightly before you sleep, so exposing yourself to a lower temperature for bed will signal your body to produce melatonin. The higher your melatonin levels, the better you’ll rest. Ideal temperatures seem to be between 60-68 degrees.


Noises above 30 db have the potential to disturb your sleep. While they might not bring you fully awake, they can interrupt your sleep cycles making it harder to get into REM and feel rested when you wake up. If you’ve invested in decent curtains and turned on a fan, odds are that will be enough to block outside noise. Using the TV can interfere with our sleep due to the light it, so consider an alternative to this if you’ve been using it. Running the dishwasher or the washing with the alarms off are great alternatives and you’re cleaning while you sleep. Win – win!


Put your phone on silence, turn it off or to do not disturb mode. People don’t understand your schedule, forget your schedule or just don’t care. This includes text messages and random alerts from ESPN and reddit, so make sure the sound is off!

However, if your neighbor John still thinks is appropriate to mow his lawn at 10am this might wake you up. Consider sleeping with an eye mask, ear plugs and all of the above.