Are you just getting ready for work when others are getting ready for bed? If you are a shift worker, then you likely know how tough it can be to get a good night's rest when you return home from work and the sun is shining brightly outside. According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 63 percent of shift workers polled reported getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis. Sleeping until you are well rested is one of the most effective and important ways to maintain your good health or improve it if it is already suffering due to lack of quality sleep.
Read on to learn two ways you can get a good night's sleep, no matter what time you go to work or when you get home.
1. Squeeze Plenty of Sunlight or Full-spectrum Artificial Light into Your Schedule
While it may sound counter-intuitive, how much sunlight you get during your day can affect how quickly you get to sleep and how well you sleep at the end of your day. If you have any control over your work environment, request that full-spectrum light bulbs be installed at your workplace. These light bulbs project the same wavelengths of light that the natural rays of the sun do, so they make your eyes "think" it they are obtaining natural sunlight and not artificial light, which can further increase the quality of your sleep.
In addition, depending on what time you wake up for work, the season it is, and where you live in the country, there may be days when you wake up and the sun has already set or it is very cloudy and overcast. While you cannot control the weather or sun schedule, one way to improve the quality of your sleep is help your circadian rhythm adjust completely to your current schedule. A good way to do that is to expose your eyes to bright light for 15 minutes to an hour after you first wake up, which is the most important time of "day" to expose your eyes to bright light.
When you wake up on bright, sunny days, taking just a short walk is a great idea. However, if you frequently wake up after the sun sets or you live in an especially dreary part of the country, you should invest in a SAD light box and relax in front of it for 15 minutes to an hour every morning after awakening.
2. Invest in the Right Window Shades to Block out Light When You Relax after Work and Sleep at Home
Of course, what you do during the several hours before you go to bed also affects how you sleep. You may go right to bed when you get home or, like many other shift workers, relax and watch television or perform another relaxing hobby for an hour or two before you try to go to sleep. If you are performing those activities indoors with the bright morning sunshine blazing through your current window shades, then realize that this light can reduce the quality of your sleep, even if your bedroom is kept relatively dark.
For this reason, it is important to install window shades that have the ability to block virtually all natural sunlight shining through your windows in your entire house and not just in your bedroom and keep the shades closed while you are relaxing before bed. One window shade option that can block most natural light when shut, yet lets the sun shine through brightly when open and looks stylish, is a set of plantation shutters.
To ensure your plantation shutters block as much light as possible when shut, look for a set with tightly closing louvers and rabbited edges that keep light from entering between louvers when they are shut.
Plantation shutters are sold ready-made and can also be custom ordered to your exact specifications. If you cannot find a ready-made set that fits all of your windows perfectly, then realize that the investment in custom-made plantation shutters is well worth it, since simply having the shutters on your home can raise its value. Click here for info about window shade options.