According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), approximately 20% of all gainfully employed persons worked on shifts or at night in 2013. This type of work schedule puts a lot of strain on the body because it interferes with our natural biological rhythm. The following tips are meant to help you better understand your inner clock.
- We recommend that you keep your sleeping rhythm as regular as possible. Fixed habits, such as taking a bath, listening to music, or reading, can help you to fall asleep.
- Avoid any extra noise in your surroundings. Choose a quiet and well isolated room as your bedroom.
- Draw the blinds and close the curtains, because daylight prevents you from falling asleep. Consider wearing a sleeping mask if you're unable to darken the room sufficiently.
- Avoid drinking beer at the end of the shift. Alcoholic drinks cause you to have to use the bathroom more frequently and thus disrupt your sleep.
- Don't eat less than one to one and a half hours before going to sleep. We recommend that you have a light breakfast with lots of fruit and vegetables when you work the late shift.
- Be sure to take your meals more or less at the same time of the day. Eating regularly is good for the digestion and prevents stomach and intestinal problems.
- Aim for having at least one relaxed meal and in the company of others.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, cola or black tea when the shift ends because they will keep you awake.
- You will find more details about nutrition for when working at night and on shifts here (only in German).
During off hours
- Regular exercise helps you to reduce stress and increase your wellbeing. Being in good physical condition is therefore important in helping you to cope with the extra strain of working at night and on shifts. We recommend that you find a type of sport that takes you outdoors and doesn't interfere with your shift schedule, such as walking, jogging, biking or swimming.
- Avoid very strenuous activities before starting the late or night shift. The more you exert yourself during the day the more tired you will be while at work.