Night-shift worker memory tips

by Cris
(Quezon City, Philippines)

It says here in your tips for better memory to have enough sleep at night. I'm awake at night because I work on a graveyard shift, can you suggest ways to still improve memory that would suit my work schedule? Thanks a lot!

Doug's Reply: Dr. Tackles (see below) makes a good point. Working the graveyard shift is not good for the body or mind.

Until you can get on a better schedule, you can still take steps to improve your memory. The tips discussed on this website don't have to be used at a certain time of day.

For instance, you can improve your diet, take brain vitamins, and . You can meditate. You can play free online brain games.

Because of your shift work you may feel more tired during wake times compared to other people. So you should really emphasize getting good sleep when you do sleep.

Remove all distractions from your sleep environment. Consider removing the television from your bedroom; Turn off the ringer on your phone; install light-blocking shades on your windows. Consider wearing a sleep mask to block out the remaining light. Turn on a white-noise mood machine while you sleep to create random background noise. Clear your mind and practice mindfulness breathing to relax your body and mind as soon as you lay down in bed.

When I was younger I worked the graveyard shift briefly. Being awake when everyone is sleeping and sleeping when others are awake creates all sorts of problems.

Good luck with the job. In the meantime, click the links on the left side of my site to learn more about the memory improvement habits and techniques you may want to add to your routine.


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Apr 29, 2010
Night-Shift Worker Memory Tips
by: Anonymous

The health consequences of not getting adequate amounts of sleep have been well established. Sleep disturbance that occurs in individuals who work the night shift can have an impact on the health and welfare of the worker.

The problem is so significant that it has its own classification as a disorder called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. This is classified in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD).

In a survey of shift workers, evening and rotating workers it was noted that these individuals experience higher levels of job strain, physical stress, relationship problems, and higher level of emotional stress than day workers. Poor sleep may affect job performance and decrease alertness that can lead to more on-the-job accidents and injuries.

Another study has shown that shift workers have more unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse, poor diet and a lack of exercise when compared to day workers. The incidence of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders and risk of cancer are higher in shift workers as well.

Shift workers may develop addictions to medications as they attempt to improve their sleep-wake cycle. For example, they abuse sleeping pills to go to sleep, and abuse stimulants to keep them up. So, if you put all of these health consequences to together, it could have an impact on shortening your lifespan.

...Dr. Tom Tackles

I suggest you make a concentrated effort to get onto another shift

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