Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Sleepless in New Hanover County Part 2

Tips for shift workers
If you need to get a good night's sleep during the day, one of your biggest challenges may be dealing with the sunlight. Here are some suggestions:
  • If possible, work in brightly lit areas during your shift.
  • When you drive home in the morning, wear sunglasses. Limiting light to your eyes tricks the brain into thinking it’s getting close to nighttime.
  • Make sure your bedroom is absolutely dark. If any daylight is creeping in through the curtains or shades, drape a thick towel or blanket over the window. You might also consider wearing a “sleep mask.”
General Tips:
  • Limit the amount of time awake in the bed
  • Limit any naps during the day.
  • Avoid clock-watching
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm and alcohol after 6pm
  • Keep a regular wake time and bedtime
  • Light exercise should be encouraged
  • Only use bed for sleep, no TV or reading. If unable to sleep in 20 minutes, get up, go to another room and return to bed only when feeling sleepy.
  • Try relaxation therapy, such visualization.
  • Avoid stressful activities in the evening.
Tips for staying alert
If you’re dealing with a sleep deficit, these tips may help get you through a sluggish day:
  • Eat breakfast. You’ll need the energy it provides.
  • Avoid a “sugar rush.” You might get a lift from eating candies, cakes, and other high-sugar foods, but you’ll crash pretty quickly. Instead, eat meals and snacks that combine complex carbohydrates and protein.
  • Move around. Stimulate your body by taking a brief walk outside or around the office; you’ll feel more alert.
  • Vary your activities. Don’t focus on the same task for long periods of time.
  • Get chilly. A surge of cold air might perk you up. Depending on the season, you could turn on the air conditioning, open a window, or take a brisk walk outside.
Come back next week for our final chapter of Sleepless in NHC; learning about medications for sleep.  Call the office for a consultation if you are experiencing sleep problems. 

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