With modernisation night shift work is quite common for professionals working in IT industry, healthcare and call centres.
Is work efficiency best at night?
Study has shown alertness, cognitive function, psychomotor coordination and mood are at their lowest point between 3 am to 5 am.
Night shift work is associated with increased risk of sleep loss, occupational accidents, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
How can we increase work efficiency at night?
- A pre-shift nap of 60 – 90 min followed by caffeine on awakening improves cognitive functions.
- Napping (< 30 min) during a shift improved alertness and performance.
- Exposure to bright light during the night shift reduces melatonin secretion. Melatonin is sleep promoting hormone and inhibition of it may help to reduce sleepiness.
- Having dinner immediately before going to the shift and then having snacks in between to stay comfortable during working hours increases work efficiency.
What can we do to have good sleep during off/day time?
- Avoiding bright daylight on the journey home (e.g. wearing sunglasses) computers and phones.
- Creating dark, quiet environments for sleep
- A relatively cool temperature
- Avoid caffeine or nicotine for at least six hours before trying to sleep.
- Regular exercise leads to improvement in sleep quantity and quality.
The study is published in BMJ.