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The Facts

0 %
Australian adults meet the threshold for a clinical diagnosis of insomnia.
0 %
Report at least one sleep disorder symptom three or more times a week.
0 %
Have daily routines that doesn't allow them to get enough sleep.

Source: Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Australia report, Sleep Health Foundation

Quality sleep is important for everyone, however for shift workers, quality sleep can be hard to come by. Quality sleep is controlled by our body’s Circadian rhythms, that are influenced by 5 factors: sunlight, darkness, temperature, movement and food intake.

Strategies to manage tiredness

  1.  Get 10-20 mins of morning sunlight.
  2. Remove electronic devices from bed routine.
  3. Avoid caffeine – limit your intake to 300mg/day and avoid it 8 hours before bed.
  4. Exercise – focus on gentle movement in the sunlight – Avoid exercising before going to bed – Stand more and sit less.
  5. Sleep in complete darkness.
  6. Focus on relaxation NOT sedation (drug induced sleep affects the quality of sleep) Try a yoga pose with feet up the wall before heading to bed.

Sleep is important to us all because is impacts on these 6 areas of our life

  1. Learning and memory — sleeping helps commit new information to memory. 
  2. Metabolism and weight — the body processes and stores carbohydrates differently when deprived of sleep, which could lead to weight gain.
  3. Safety — a fatigued person is at a high risk of micro sleeps while driving. 
  4. Mood — loss of sleep can lead to irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and moodiness. 
  5. Cardiovascular health — serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels and irregular heartbeat. 
  6. Disease — sleep loss alters immune function and a higher chance of illness/disease. 

Steps to improve the quality of sleep for myself or my partner after shift work

  1. Dim the lights — Upon finishing a shift avoid all bright lights, e.g. wear sunglasses on the drive home and relax in a dark room before bed.
  2. Keep it cool — Our body is most ready to sleep as it gets cooler at night, so try and keep body temperature low by staying in air conditioning and out of the sun.
  3. Avoid vigorous exercise — Light exercise e.g. walking is okay, but high intensity exercise will stimulate adrenaline and promote wakefulness.
  4. Nutrition and night shift (10pm-6am) — Eating patterns should be the same as on day shift, only eating at different times!