See 7 different 12-hour shift rotation examples here . Sleep consistency is key for many employees working night shift schedules. See the chart below for an example. If you can't, it's easier to adjust to a schedule that rotates from day shift to evening to night rather than the reverse order. For example, you may be working an evening shift. In many hospitals and long-term care facilities, newly hired nurses are asked to work the night shift. You might, for example, find yourself spending a chunk of your time off recovering from your time on. Working at night has the combined problems of prolonged wakefulness (often working 8 to 12-hour shifts) and circadian misalignment (working at a time of night when you would normally be asleep). And if you’re new to shift work or have been struggling to get adequate sleep, you might need to try a few different sleeping patterns to see which is best for you. The researchers pointed out that this is the least effective strategy for adapting one’s circadian clock to a night-time schedule. A 2011 study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that 1 in 4 nurses were doing just that, choosing to go without sleep for up to 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift. Then when you begin the night shift, your body will already be getting ready for the new schedule. On the last few days of the evening shift, delay the times you go to bed and wake up by one to two hours each day. National Sleep Foundation. They make scheduling a bit simpler since you are only dealing with 2 shift times. Updated October 1, 2010. Day: 0700-1900. Sometimes I read articles on how to sleep while working nights that dogmatically dictate a certain sleep schedule. It took me quite awhile and a lot of experimenting to find a sleep schedule that works well for me. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Circadian rhythm disorders. Cleveland Clinic. You need to define your night shift sleep schedule in accordance with your work while keeping in mind to sleep for 7 to 8 hours at a stretch. Performance is worse at the end of shifts, particularly night shifts. Sleep deprivation and deficiency. I switch back to a normal sleep schedule when I’m not working so I can take care of my little boy. Here are the key points and some action steps for creating a better schedule. How to sleep well when you work the night shift. This is how I do it! Cut down your Caffeine Intake. Improve your sleep on a shift-based schedule. Night: 1800-0600. or. Sleep duration and difficulty was greatest on night shift. For many, adopting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a bedroom environment conducive to rest can have a huge impact. Action: Minimize unnecessary or complex tasks at the end of shifts. Try to avoid long commutes that take time away from sleeping. But, realistically, the same thing just doesn’t work everyone. 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