Sleeping Tips for Third Shift Workers

Is it difficult for you to stay awake during third shift work? Get helpful tips to make the most of your sleep and be productive during the day. You deserve a healthy and restful sleep to get the energy you need to stay energized during the day.

Quick facts: Sleeping Tips For Third Shift Workers

  • Working the Night Shift May Increase the Risk of Certain Diseases – Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School)
  • Night Shift Work Ups the Risk of Weight Gain – American Journal of Epidemiology
  • Night Shift Work Linked to Lower Quality Sleep – BMJ Open
  • Shift Workers Need More Sleep to Stay Alert – National Sleep Foundation
  • Circadian Rhythm Disruption Common in Night Shift Workers – National Institutes of Health

Checkout this video:

Sleep Schedule

If you work the third shift, it can be difficult to stay on a regular sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health, so it’s important to find a routine that works for you. Here we will discuss some tips on how to keep a regular sleep schedule:

  • Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
  • Avoid naps during the day.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Manage stress levels.

Establish a regular sleep schedule

Establishing a regular sleep schedule is one of the best ways for third shift workers to get the quality rest they need. To develop a good sleeping pattern, one should go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Make sure to avoid consuming caffeine or sugary snacks several hours before bedtime, and limit stimulating activities close to sleeping.

Try and make your bedroom environment dark and quiet, as these will help you rest more effectively. It may also be helpful to focus on relaxing activities such as reading or yoga before bedtime. Making these changes can help ensure third shift workers get enough quality sleep during their workweek.

Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is important for all shift workers, especially those on the third shift. This means making an effort to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. It can be challenging on your day off to try and stick to a normal sleep schedule, but if you’re able to do so, it can make a huge difference in your ability to focus and perform on the job.

During working hours, strive for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night in order for your body and mind stay alert and energized. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep before or after shifts, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation while lying in bed before attempting to sleep. Additionally, limit stimulants like caffeine that may interfere with your natural circadian rhythm (your internal clock) prior to work shifts or during breaks at work.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day

For third shift workers, it is important to make sure they have a healthy sleep schedule. One way to ensure this happens is by avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and alcohol are both known to disrupt an individual’s circadian rhythm, making it harder for the body to transition into a restful state of sleep. Additionally, caffeine and alcohol can both contribute to increased alertness, making it more difficult for an individual on the third shift to actually fall asleep when they’re ready for bed.

Therefore, avoiding caffeine or alcohol late in the day can help third shift workers better establish a healthy sleep pattern and better prepare their bodies for restful sleep throughout the night.


For third shift workers, the environment you sleep in can be an important factor in getting restful sleep. Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet and cool are important steps in creating an environment that encourages restful sleep. Additionally, controlling what’s going on outside your home can also be beneficial. Let’s explore further.

Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet

For third shift workers, creating an environment that helps you sleep comfortably and soundly is a must. A dark and quiet bedroom is essential to ensure quality sleep. As darkness signals to your brain that it’s time for rest, make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Close all curtains, cover any light sources (such as computer screens or digital clocks), and use blackout shades if you need to.

When it comes to noise levels, create a peaceful atmosphere by eliminating all distractions, such as the television or loud music. If outside noise is an issue, consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

With these tips in place, you can rest assured that your sleep cycle will be more consistent and effective on late shifts!

Keep your bedroom temperature cool

A good night’s sleep is essential for third shift workers, and one way to ensure that you get a good night’s rest is to make sure that your bedroom is a cool and comfortable temperature. Keeping the room temperature at around 65–68 degrees Fahrenheit (18–20 degrees Celsius) will help maximize the quality of your sleep. Additionally, if the room is too warm, you can use a fan or another cooling device to keep it comfortable. Avoid using air conditioning if possible because of its potential impact on air quality.

It’s also important to make sure that your bedroom remains as dark as possible during sleeping hours. Dimming lights or eliminating bright light sources in your bedroom can help facilitate better sleep quality. As an added bonus, this can help reduce stress levels and promote feelings of relaxation prior to falling asleep.

Use blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask

For third shift workers, it is essential to use blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask in order to mimic darkness during the day. Blackout curtains are designed to block out light, creating a more comfortable sleep environment. Sleep masks are also useful in blocking out light and creating a dark space for sleep.

It is important that third shift workers use blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask because light can interfere with the natural circadian rhythms, making it harder for people to fall asleep during the day and stay asleep. Additionally, being exposed to too much light can impact melatonin production, which is needed for restful sleep. Using blackout curtains and/or a sleep mask can help create an ideal environment for restful day time sleeping and support healthy circadian rhythms.

Wind Down

When you work a typical third shift, you need to figure out a way to effectively wind down in order to achieve a good night’s rest. The best way to do this is to shut off all forms of technology such as cell phones, tablets and laptops.

Create a calming environment in your bedroom by using some essential oils, soft lighting and comfortable bedding, and dedicate some time to relax before sleeping.

Avoid screens before bedtime

It can be hard to fall asleep when your body is programmed to be up and working at night. To make the transition from work to rest easier, avoid screens of any kind including television, computers, tablets and cell phones before bedtime. Their light has been shown to disrupt melatonin production in the brain – a hormone needed for deep sleep.

Instead of screens, try writing in a journal or reading a book before bedtime. Also, try to keep your bedroom quiet and dark, as background noise or light can disrupt your sleep pattern. This includes keeping any electronics that produce artificial light in another room or switching them off altogether.

Finally, make sure you’re comfortable – try sleeping with an extra blanket if you’re too cold or keeping the temperature cool if you’re too hot.

Avoid intense exercise before bedtime

It is important for any shift worker to pay attention to the sleep hygiene habits that ensure quality rest. One of the tips for a good night’s rest is to avoid intense exercise before bedtime. Doing aerobic activities such as running or any high-intensity workouts can cause an increase in body temperature, alertness and heart rate, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, exercising immediately before bedtime can cause a surge in endorphins and other hormones that may make it harder for individuals to relax and fall asleep after a workout session.

It is recommended that third shift workers should reduce or eliminate any intense exercise at least two hours before retiring for the evening. Instead they should opt for light physical activity such as yoga, stretching or walks during breaks in order to reduce stress levels prior bedtime.

Practice relaxation techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques is an essential part of winding down before bed, especially for those on the night shift. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and mindfulness can help to reduce the physical and mental stress of the day and make it easier to drift off to sleep faster.

Taking five to ten minutes before bedtime to practice some type of relaxation technique can be incredibly beneficial for both body and mind. When engaging in a relaxation technique, focus on taking slow deep breaths and letting your muscles relax as you go through each step. Bringing yourself into the present moment helps to quiet your mind and ease tension associated with stress so you can get better quality rest when it’s time for sleep.


Diet is an important factor when it comes to getting quality sleep for third shift workers. Eating nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. Eating smaller meals throughout the day can also help curb your appetite and keep you energized for your shift.

Let’s explore the other diet tips for third shift workers:

Avoid eating late at night

Avoiding late night eating can be difficult for third shift workers who become hungry during the night. However, it is essential to a good night’s sleep. Eating late at night can disrupt your body’s ability to fall and stay asleep because the body needs time to digest food. If you eat too close to bedtime, your stomach will still be working when it’s time for your body to rest, leading to sleepless nights.

Eating a light snack before bedtime may provide you with energy throughout the night. But try not overdo it as too much food late at night can lead to digestive issues that may keep you up all night. Eating healthy snacks like yogurt and fruit are good options as they have minimal caloric intake and provide a great source of micronutrients and fiber which can help aid in digestion. Additionally, protein-rich snacks such as nuts or boiled eggs are beneficial in providing lasting energy throughout the evening hours and can help give you better sleep quality throughout the day.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important sleeping tips for third shift workers. Eating a well-balanced diet can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve your sleep quality. Make sure to get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals. Avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible.

Additionally, try to eat something light for breakfast or lunch before you go to bed in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the night. Drinking plenty of water is also essential for good sleep health—eight glasses per day should do the trick. Lastly, cut down on caffeine consumption throughout the day to ensure that you get better rest at night.

Avoid sugary snacks

Third shift workers should avoid consuming sugary snacks and drinks, especially close to bedtime. Eating sugary snacks can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar that could cause an individual to feel energized, making it harder for them to fall asleep. Additionally, consuming sugary foods can lead to indigestion and other digestive issues that can also disrupt sleep.

To keep energy consistent throughout the night, it is best for third shift workers to consume light snacks with complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat toast with peanut butter or yogurt with granola. These types of snacks are not only more nutritious than fatty or sugary snacks but they will help keep energy levels consistent all night long and enable a more restful sleep.


Taking medication can be a helpful way to manage sleep patterns for third shift workers. Prescribed medicines like melatonin or sedatives can help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep for longer. There are other options, such as over the counter sleep aids, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these medications.

Talk to your doctor about any sleep medications

If you are struggling to sleep during the day due to working the third shift, it is important to talk to your doctor about any possible medications that may help. Sleep medications can be a great tool for those who have difficulty falling asleep. However, you should consult with your doctor first to ensure that any medication prescribed is safe and appropriate for you.

Commonly prescribed medications for sleep include sedatives and hypnotics such as benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines, as well as newer types of drugs like melatonin receptor agonists and dual orexin receptor antagonists. Be sure to discuss all potential risks and benefits with your doctor before taking any medication.

Consider over-the-counter remedies

If you are among the millions of people who work the third shift, chances are good that you struggle to get enough restorative sleep during your off hours. Fortunately, you can take steps to help yourself get the rest you need while on the third shift.

One thing you can do is consider over-the-counter remedies. Commonly used products such as melatonin, valerian root, kava kava and others have all been studied for their potential role in helping with sleep disturbances. If none of these natural remedies work for you, then your doctor may suggest a sleep aid like Ambien or Lunesta.

It’s important to note that doctor-prescribed medications should only be taken under the advice and oversight of a qualified medical professional.

Use natural sleep aids

Natural sleep aids are substances or treatments that can help promote sleep without the use of drugs. They may be in the form of dietary supplements, herbs, home remedies, or lifestyle habits. Examples of natural sleep aids include melatonin, lavender essential oil, magnesium supplements, chamomile tea, valerian root extract, and exercise.

While research into the effects of natural sleep aids is still in its infancy, some studies suggest that they can be beneficial for treating insomnia and other sleeping issues. It’s important to talk to your doctor before trying any natural sleep aid as certain doses may interact with medications you already take or have undesirable side effects in some individuals.

FAQs about: Sleeping Tips For Third Shift Workers

Q: What is the best sleeping schedule for third shift workers?

A: The best sleeping schedule for third shift workers is to go to bed as soon as you get home from work. Aim for 8 hours of sleep so you should adjust your bedtime accordingly. Make sure to keep the same sleep schedule on your days off, and try to stick to a routine.

Q: What are some tips for staying alert during a third shift?

A: Some tips for staying alert during a third shift include having a balanced meal before work, taking short breaks throughout the shift, and exercising during the day. It is also important to get plenty of sleep and avoid high-sugar or high-caffeine snacks.

Q: How can I adjust to a third shift schedule?

A: Adjusting to a third shift schedule can be difficult, but it is possible with the right approach. Make sure you get enough sleep and try to keep the same sleep schedule on your days off. Eating healthy meals, staying hydrated and avoiding caffeine can also help.

Similar Posts