Chronic sleep deprivation is known to be detrimental to health. It can lead to a wide range of serious medical problems including obesity, diabetes, memory loss, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, anxiety, and psychiatric disorders. According to The National Institutes of Health, it is estimated that roughly 30 percent of the general population suffer from sleep deprivation.
Those working night shifts are at a particularly increased risk for sleep deprivation due to inevitable disruptions to circadian rhythms, thereby causing biological clocks to fall out of sync with Earth’s natural light cycles. While it’s easy to overlook the potential long-term negative impact of sleep deprivation, getting consistent quality sleep is essential for our well-being; it is as important as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. So, with that in mind, if you’re working the night shift, here are five must-have sleep aids to help you get quality sleep during the day:
The pineal gland produces a sleep hormone, known as melatonin, when darkness falls. Melatonin levels continue to rise throughout most of the night, signaling to our brain that it is time to rest. Light exposure at the wrong times can alter the biological mechanism that regulates sleep-wake cycles. For that reason, pitch black darkness is essential to getting quality sleep. One simple solution to darkening your bedroom during daylight hours is through the use of window treatments such as blackout curtains, shades, blinds, or light blocking window films. If you're opting for blackout shades, read our comparison guide here.
If you are looking for an added layer of light blocking material, or just an alternative to window treatments, a sleep mask also comes in handy. Sleep masks are designed to follow the contours of your face, sitting comfortably over the eyes while blocking out light. They come in different colors and styles, so there's bound to be something that's just right for everyone. Some may find this uncomfortable but a sleep mask recommended for people who travel and want to sleep in the comfort of darkness.
Ambient noise can disrupt the quality of sleep just as badly as daylight. A reliable white noise machine can do wonders to minimize or completely mask distracting sounds typical of daylight hours, giving you better sleep and greater sleep satisfaction. If you think the noise is disrupting your sleep, try this machine. There is also an app version for those who want to bring their machine on the go.
The quality of your mattress, pillows, sheets, and even pajamas can affect the quality of your sleep. Make sure that your mattress and pillows are supportive and your bedding is soft, clean, and comfortable.
Aromatherapy, also known as essential oils therapy, is an effective non-pharmacological approach that uses plant-based aromatic compounds to help enhance one's sense of well-being. The right scent can improve your mood and behavior. For instance, the smell of lavender essential oil is known to have a positive effect on sleep quality because its calming scent promotes feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. Other oils that can aid with sleep are chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and sweet marjoram.