August 28, 2012
Let’s face it, humans are creatures of habit and we become irritated when a new schedule is given to us every half of the month or so. We certainly have difficulties in adjusting our sleeping and waking time instantly. We may become lethargic, sleep deprived, and downright irritable. But if the schedule change is really necessary for our work, what can we do to adjust without sacrificing our health and social lives?
Similar to jet lags, a sudden transition of schedule at work gives us a hard time in adjusting our internal or body clocks. A good transition of schedule starts from morning shift, mid-shift, night shift then graveyard shift – not the other way around or jumping around each shift. If a sudden change of schedule is given to you without any transition, you may experience health issues like backaches, nausea, migraine, and nose bleeding. These are the usual result of low blood platelet count and may occur during times when you don’t have enough sleep or rest for the day.
Here are some tips on how you can adjust your internal clock:
This is usually not the healthiest tip, but if you experienced a sudden change in schedule, you can adjust better by not eating during usual meal time. If you’re working a morning shift, you should set your first meal during the morning. For a mid-shift, you should start and set your first meal by lunch. And for a night shift, have your first meal during the evening. Your body responds and copes more easily with your schedule if you transition your meal time as well. Your brain will send signals to your body that your first meal of the day is your starting time frame.
SET A ROUTINE:
Set up a daily routine. Set a recurrent alarm time until your body remembers it even without the alarm. This happens when your body is already into the right rhythm of your time frame. Your body can tell if it’s now time for you to sleep or wake-up.
Light is the biggest factor in our circadian cycle or internal clock – our body responds to how strong or dim the light is for us to feel the need to sleep.
Switch on the lights during the time that you should be awake, and use a dimmer light if it’s time for you to sleep. With the help of these shades of light, your brain will send signals to your body on how relaxed it should be.
Know what you should eat to keep awake or sleep more easily. To stay awake, take caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee. On the other hand, if you’ve been tossing and turning in bed for hours, drink some warm milk or eat a slice of bread with peanut butter. These contain a natural sedative that could help you fall asleep.
Make sure to be productive during the time that you should be awake. Focus on work, and if you really have trouble staying awake, you could try watching a movie or blasting on some music. And when bedtime rolls around, discipline yourself to sleep immediately so your body can get used to the schedule.
Even with an ever-changing schedule, you can still be productive and do lots of things outside of work. Have the discipline to adjust your internal clock in order to maximize your time for work, sleep, and play.