Shift work is difficult, it’s no secret. Getting proper sleep when doing shift work is one of the hardest parts. Getting the right amount of sleep is the most important thing for you when working any job, but when you combine sleep depravity with FIFO life, homesickness and long working hours, it’s a recipe for self-destruction, and must be dealt with before it becomes out of control.
From sleep deprivation comes stress, anxiety or depression, and from stress and anxiety cocomes sleep deprivation. It’s a vicious cycle, and there is only one way to break the cycle, and teach your body to sleep properly. Lack of sleep over long periods of time can seriously impact your mental health, and the first step to maintaining good mental health is through addressing your sleep issues.
Here are some tips on how to get better sleep:
- Get up at the same time every morning, even if you had a late night or poor sleep the night before.
- Routine is very important – regular times for meals and other activities. If you have kids, you will know how important routine is for them to get a quality sleep, well this doesn’t change when we become adults, in fact it becomes even more important.
- Even if you are tired during the day, don’t day sleep. It will ruin any routine you might already have.
- Regular exercise will help your sleep patterns
- Limit your intake of caffeine to two a day, and definitely don’t have caffeine after 3-4pm.
- Have a bedtime routine. A hot shower, a trip to the dining hall, a game of pool, read a chapter of a book, meditate. No matter what your routine, do it the same every day. It will train your body clock.
- Make sure that your sleeping area is as dark, and quiet as possible. Wear ear plugs or play music quietly if you can’t deal with outside noises.
- Talk to someone – friends, family or psychologist/doctor about your sleep issues and thoughts. FIFO work can be mentally draining, and you need to be able to speak to someone about it.