[shiftworker online]

February 1999
Issue 7
Shiftworker Online

News Headlines. Canada.  USA.
Weather. Canada.  USA.
Current Scores.
from USA Today.
from Sportsline.
Laugh of the Day.
from Reader's Digest.
Picture of the Day.

This Day in LIFE

Book of the Month.
A Study in Scarlet

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Enter a Room.

Welcome to Issue # 7of the Shiftworker Online.

Bookmark this page for easy access to News, Weather and Sports and Shift Work related information.

In this issue:

Previous Issues
#1 Jan./Feb. 1998

#2 Mar./Apr.1998

#3 May/June 1998

#4 July/August 1998

#5 Sept./Oct. 1998

#6 Nov./Dec. 1998

Tips for Better Sleep

The following information was adapted from a pamphlet from the Niagara Snoring and Sleep Centre. It describes sleeping tips in general and is very helpful. There are some tips that a shiftworker cannot use due to the nature of rotating shiftwork.

How much sleep does a person need?

While 6 TO 9 hours of sleep appears to be the norm, there is no single answer to this question since sleep needs are as individual as shoe sizes and cannot be altered. In addition, if your sleep is light and fragmented, you will require more hours than if it is deep and continuous.

How can you tell if you are getting enough sleep?

You can assess the adequacy of your sleep By answering the following questions.

1. Do you feel alert during the daytime? This is the prime test of whether you are getting sufficient sleep.

2. Do you have trouble waking up? While it is perfectly normal to feel sleepy on arising, any feeling of sleepiness should disappear within a few minutes. If you need a cup of coffee to feel alert, you may not be getting enough sleep.

3. Do you fall asleep easily at quiet times? Such as when your watching television, sitting on a train, or when bored. People who have had enough sleep will feel restless, not sleepy, in these situations. Warm rooms and dull situations do not cause sleepiness, they simply unmask it.

4. Do you need to sleep late on weekends to catch up? This is similar to binging on food after several days of starving. A balanced sleep diet is better than fasting and feasting.

5. Do you lie awake for a long period after you turn the lights off? People who are ready to fall asleep, usually do so within 30 minutes of going to bed. It is possible that your body needs less sleep than you think. For example there are some people who believe the myth that they should have eight hours of sleep, but whose bodies only need seven hours of sleep.

Tips for Fine Tuning Your Sleep Requirements

An hour or two of sleep more or less each day may not seem significant. But if you need it, then extra sleep will make you feel more alert and productive. If instead, your body needs less sleep, then you will feel fine with less sleep, and you can enjoy the extra time awake.

The following simple experiments will help you find the amount of sleep that is right for you.

1. Over a two week period, try to sleep the same number of hours each night.

2. Keep your bedtime constant and get up at the same time every day. Then go to a bed thirty minutes earlier or later for another two weeks, and see if you feel a difference in your level of sleepiness and alertness.

3. Try taking a twenty minute nap each afternoon for a week or two. Do you feel re-energized for the rest of the day, or does napping make it harder to fall asleep later that night?

General Tips for Good Sleep

Stabilizing sleep and wake times synchronizes body rhythms.

Those individuals who follow established routines generally sleep better at night and feel sharper during the daytime.

Establish regular hours.

Try to get up at about the same time every day, no matter when you go to sleep. A regular time of arising is the single most effective way to keep body rhythms in tune.

Create enjoyable pre-sleep rituals.

Doctors advise patients to relax at bedtime; some people favor reading, while others enjoy hobbies, even doing exacting work. Watch the news, a comedy show, or have a light snack.

Exercise for at least twenty minutes, three to six hours before bedtime.

Vigorous exercise raises body temperature The decline in temperature that occurs after exercise sends a strong signal to the brain that helps to induce sleep a few hours later. In addition, physical fitness generally improves sleep quality.

Take a hot bath two to three hours before bedtime.

A hot bath raises body temperature. The cooling down that occurs after the bath helps induce and deepen sleep.

Avoid caffeine within four or five hours of bedtime.

Even when it does not interfere with falling asleep, caffeine makes sleep more restless.

Skip both alcohol and nicotine near bedtime.

Alcohol may initially make you drowsy, however, once that effect wears off, it will disrupt sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant.

Keep your bedroom quiet.

Mask any external noises with the hum of a fan or air conditioner.

Keep your bedroom dark.

If streetlights or headlights shine in, get room darkening shades or curtains. Open them as soon as you get up in the morning. If your bedroom is secluded, sleep with the shades up. Sunlight will awaken you gradually and gently.

Preparing for Sleep Loss

(e.g. jet travel, shift work)

Take a nap ahead of time.

If possible, get some extra sleep for a few nights beforehand. For example, if you take a nap before your night shift you will feel more alert through the shift.

Get as much sleep as you can during your regular sleep time. Even a little sleep is better than none at all.

If you regularly work long or irregular hours, try to build a nap into your schedule.

Tips for Coping After Missing Sleep


Interaction with other people makes it easier to stay alert. If you work alone, make phone calls when you feel the sleepiest.

Put forth extra work effort.

Motivation can override sleepiness over the short term.


An active body produces on active brain. In the office, go for a walk occasionally.

Eat lightly.

Avoid alcohol and carbohydrate foods.

If possible take a midday nap.

Do not nap after dinner as it will interfere with your night's sleep.

Drink caffeinated beverages judiciously.

If you normally only drink one or two cups of coffee a day, then a cup of coffee will help you stay awake when you really have to. Light users of caffeine who are anticipating a night without sleep, e.g. college students studying late and doctors on call, often find that a single cup of coffee consumed between 10 and 11 PM., significantly increases their alertness for the rest of the night. People who regularly consume large amounts of caffeine become habituated and do not get much of a boost from consuming additional caffeine.

Go to bed an hour or two earlier.

This will keep you from carrying the sleep debt over to the next day.

Help for Troubled Sleepers

Many people think insomnia is incurable and can any be endured. This view is usually not true.

Reserve your bed for sleep and sex only. Do not use it as a place to pay bills or talk on the phone as such activities will cause you to associate getting in bed with staying awake.

If you are a bedtime worrier, set aside a half hour after dinner to jot down problems and possible solutions.

Even if nothing can be done, you may find that writing a problem down helps you come to terms with it and lets you rest easier.

To nap or not to nap?

Some poor sleepers find that afternoon naps relieve their anxieties about not getting enough sleep, and make it easier to relax at night. Others find that daytime naps interfere with nighttime sleep. Try napping consistently for a week or so to determine its true impact.

If you cannot fall asleep in ten or fifteen minutes, get up and go to another room.

Engage in some quiet activity such as reading or watching television, until you feel sleepy. Keep the lights dim and do not snack. Do not return to bed until you feel drowsy.

If you cannot sleep, but it is too cold to get out of bed, try to focus your thoughts.

Visualize your attention as a spotlight, shine it on a subject other than your concern about not sleeping. One lady redesigns her garden in her head, another takes a mental walk.

Try not to become distressed when you sleep poorly. You will probably sleep better the next night.

Use sleeping pills cautiously.

Sleeping pills can be used for the occasional bad night or to counteract the time change on trips away from home. They are not designed to take every night and they become less effective and more addictive after four to six weeks of nightly use.

Keep a sleep diary.

If the above steps do not improve your sleep, keep a sleep log to help your physician identify trouble spots.

If your bedroom is secluded, leave the windows uncovered.

This will allow morning sunlight to awaken you naturally. Going outside as soon as possible after awakening will give your biologic clock a strong “start the day” signal. This is particularly useful if you have trouble getting up and going in the morning, especially in the winter.

If you suffer an afternoon slump, forgo a coffee break.

Instead, take a walk outdoors, and let the stimulating effect of exercise and daylight work together.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, particularly in summer, stay indoors as much as possible after 4 P.M. Be sure to go outside first thing in the morning.

If sleep problems persist, see your doctor.

adapted from a pamphlet from the Niagara Snoring and Sleep Centre.

Shift Working Couples

Statistics Canada information:

At least one partner had shift work in 634,000 couples, or four out of 10 of the nearly 1.7 million working couples in Canada in November 1995.

One in four husbands and one in five wives do shift work, and about 40,000 couples are working at completely different  times of the day.

What's disappearing from their schedules is time together.

While couples who work an average 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day have about 16 hours left to be together, shift couples have four hours and 20 minutes less because their jobs overlap and their workdays are longer.

Most say shift work is part of the job, but one in 10 say they are doing it for other reasons. For husbands, it's largely to make more money; for wives, it's to take care of the children.

Blue collar occupations report above average rates of shift work, as do jobs in medicine and the service industry.

And men working shifts outnumber women except in the fields of nursing and sales.

Younger couples and those with preschoolers are the most likely to be working shifts.


Here is another easy to make Low-Fat recipe.

What you need:

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup apple juice, frozen concentrate

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 apple

1 egg white

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 mixing bowl

1 round pan

Preparation Method

Preheat oven at 350F.

Cut the apple into bite sized pieces.

In a mixing bowl mix together everything except the apples.

Put a thin layer (1/8-1/4") of mixture on the bottom of a non-stick or Pammed round pan.

Put the apples on top of this.

Then spread the rest of the mix on top of the apples.

Bake at 350F. for about 20 minutes.


That’s it for this issue.

Have a Happy 1999!!!

Bye for now!!!

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If you have any comments or questions,
Please E-MAIL me at rlaird@ican.net