Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours

Tips to help you fall asleep during a response
  • If hunger disturbs your sleep, eat a small snack before bedtime.
  • Keep light levels low for 1-2 hours before bedtime. Stop using computers and other devices with backlit electronic screens (stop surfing the web, catching up on emails, etc). If you must use these devices during this time, turn down the screen brightness and wear dark sunglasses.
  • Take a warm bath or shower.
  • Perform a bedtime routine, such as brushing teeth and preparing for sleep.
  • Avoid these before bedtime:
    • Heavy, spicy meals, 2-3 hours before
    • Liquids (to avoid having to get up)
    • Alcohol, 2-3 hours before (alcohol promotes sleep onset but causes early awakening and sleep disturbances)
    • Caffeine, several hours before (depending on your sensitivity)
    • Nicotine, several hours before
    • Exercise: Regular exercise will improve sleep, but if you have trouble falling asleep, try finishing exercise at least three hours before bedtime.

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Page last reviewed: April 1, 2020