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Who Works the Night Shift?
Surviving the Night
Talk About It

Tips for Getting a Good Day's Rest for Night Shifters

Information courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation

Getting ready for successful shuteye

There are several steps a shift worker can take to successfully fall asleep and stay asleep. The key is to make sleep a priority!

Set the stage for sleep even though it might be broad daylight outside. Prepare your body and mind for sleep. Wear wraparound dark glasses on your way home from work if you are on the night shift to keep morning sunlight from activating your internal "daytime" clock. Follow bedtime rituals and try to keep a regular sleep schedule - even on weekends. Go to sleep as soon as possible after work.

At home, ask family and friends to help create a quiet and peaceful setting during your sleep time. Have family members wear headphones to listen to music or watch TV. Ban vacuuming, dish washing, and noisy games during your sleep time. Put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the front door so that delivery people and friends will not knock or ring the doorbell. Schedule household repairs for after your sleep time.

Tips for Successful Shuteye


  • Take a warm bath.
  • Lower the room temperature (a cool environment improves sleep).
  • Don't "activate" your brain by balancing a checkbook, reading a thriller, or doing other stressful activities.


  • Darken the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Install light blocking and sound absorbing curtains or shades.
  • Wear eye shades.


  • Wear ear plugs.
  • Use a white noise machine, like a fan, to block other noises.
  • Install carpeting and drapes to absorb sound.
  • Unplug the telephone.

  • Avoid caffeine less than five hours before bedtime.
  • Don't stop for a drink after work; although at first you may feel relaxed, alcohol disturbs sleep.
  • Eat a light snack before bedtime. Don't go to bed too full or too hungry.


  • If you exercise at the workplace, do so at least three hours before you plan on going to bed. Otherwise, exercise after you sleep. Because exercise is alerting and raises the body temperature, it should not be done too close to bedtime.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting public education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

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