Unless you're a vampire, working through the night can drive you batty. Follow these tips from night owl workers.
Getting enough sleep is important to maintain an optimum level of health and sanity. But if you work third shift, or have to clock in at 2 a.m., how can you ensure a good night's sleep during the day?
A number of professions require alterations to traditional sleep patterns, from doctors and police officers to bakers and garbage men. Here are a few of their tips on how to get to sleep while the rest of the world is wide awake.
Hit the sack straight away
As soon as you're done with work, head home and go directly to bed. Don't run any errands, don't do any chores, just tuck yourself in and close your eyes.
"I was best if I came home and went right to sleep," says Erika Tayerle, a certified nurse who worked from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland. "If I stayed up even for an hour or two to get a few things done, I had trouble falling asleep. Getting in bed within 30 minutes of arriving home in the morning was key to falling asleep in minutes."
Avoid the caffeine
If you need your coffee, soda or energy drink to make it through the night, be sure to consume it at the beginning of work and not toward the end.
Caffeine can stay in your system anywhere from four to six hours, and you want it to be long gone by the time you're ready to sleep. Plan your intake accordingly.
Install blackout blinds
Unfortunately, the sun doesn't really care if you need to sleep while it's shining through your windows. To block the light, invest in some quality blackout blinds to make your bedroom as dark as possible.
Communicate your sleep schedule
Don't be shy about letting others know your odd sleep schedule. Uninterrupted sleep is important, and you don't want visitors dropping by at all hours of the day.
Give folks a heads up on social media, update your outgoing voicemail message, and stick a note near the doorbell telling potential delivery or door-to-door salespersons to avoid ringing and knocking at all costs.
Try to take care of yourself
When you sleep off-hours, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether it's snacking on sugary treats to maintain energy levels or not having enough time to hit the gym, working nights can definitely take a toll on your body.
"I feel like the quality of sleep [during the day] isn't as good as it is when I sleep at night," says Chad Myers, an overnight snowplow truck driver for Premier Lawn Care in Amelia, Ohio. "Also, I feel like I don't receive my usual vitamin D from the sun."
To combat those obstacles, take some time before you head to work and pack healthy snack alternatives, such as almonds, veggies and hummus or yogurt. If you can't make it to the gym, schedule some time to hike the stairs or walk the halls periodically throughout the night.
Make sure to take your vitamins, and drink plenty of water to help energize your body while you work, which in turn will help you get good sleep.
Create a peaceful space
In addition to making the room as dark as possible, make your surroundings more conducive to sleep.
For some, that might mean turning on a white noise machine or the TV with the volume low to help muffle the sound of neighbors mowing their grass. For others, that might mean holing up in the basement with a comfy pillow to get the best shut-eye.
Definitely turn off your phone so every beep, chirp and buzz doesn't distract you, and do what you need to in order to create an ideal sleeping environment.
This post originally ran on AngiesList.com and is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Angie's List on the topic of sleep. The series aims to educate readers about the dangers of sleep deprivation. Angie's List is here to help improve your home, offering more than 700 types of services for your family. For more information about Angie's List, visit AngiesList.com.