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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Create a Good Sleep Environment

A good sleep environment that is very dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable can improve sleep.

Make the bedroom dark.

A man sleeping in bed with eye shades

Whether you are sleeping at night or in the daytime, your bedroom should be very dark. You can block out all light coming in through windows by using room-darkening shades and/or heavy, lined draperies. Light-blocking shades are inexpensive, easy to install, and available at most hardware stores. Light blocking drapery lining is available in fabric stores. Make adjustments to block any light entering the room around the edges.

Blinds can allow too much light to filter into the bedroom. Instead, use more opaque window coverings, especially if you work night or evening shifts and need to sleep during daylight hours or if outdoor light at night enters your bedroom windows.

Prevent light coming in from under doorways. For example, turn off hall lights or insert a draft stopper under the door. If these are not effective you can wear an eye mask, but for it to be effective keep it on for the entire desired sleep episode.

Consider the path between your bedroom and bathroom. Keep it very dark also and clear of obstacles if you tend to get up in the middle of your sleep to use the bathroom. You can use a dim red nightlight to see your way. Block or remove sources of white or blue light in your bedroom, such as a clock with a white or blue lit dial, cell phone, or television.

Module: 6, Page 2 of 20