There are several different measures workers can take to help protect themselves from the effects of fatigue.
- Avoid stimulants like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine that can prevent restful sleeping from occurring
- Proper diet and exercise can help energize you
- Ensure you take scheduled breaks
The most important factor in protecting yourself from fatigue is to make sure you have had enough sleep. The average person needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, or per 24-hour cycle. Although sleep is most beneficial when obtained in a single block, a number of short sleeps is better than none. To get as much restful sleep as possible, it is important to control your environment:
- Use dark shades to keep light out or use a sleeping mask if necessary
- Reduce noise by turning off phones and answering machines or by wearing earplugs
- Sleep in a cooler environment, which means using an air conditioner or fan in the summer
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day
- Night shift workers should go to sleep within an hour of when they get home
Many night shift workers prefer to sleep in basement bedrooms after a night shift because it is naturally darker, quieter and cooler.