sleep foundation

The Bedroom Environment

The National Sleep Foundation

Medically Reviewed by

The National Sleep Foundation

Written by

The National Sleep Foundation

Plenty of jobs come with hours outside the typical 9 to 5 day. Shift workers—for example nurses, doctors, pilots, drivers, and police officers—are estimated to comprise almost 15 percent of the U.S. work force.

An irregular work schedule can be taxing on the body. When you work late at night and miss out on daytime light, for example, it confuses the brain, disrupts the circadian rhythm and can make for sleepiness, insomnia, and other health problems. On top of that, many shift workers have rotating schedules, which means that their bodies are constantly forced to readjust to new rhythms.

If you need to sleep and wake at atypical hours, managing the light in your bedroom can help. When you’re winding down for sleep, dim the lights and try to limit your use of electronics. Use special room darkening shades or curtains to block daylight and make your room completely dark for sleeping or try wearing an eye mask.

Supporting Research

Shift work sleep disorder

Bright light, dark and melatonin can promote circadian adaptation in night shift workers

Health disorders of shift workers

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers on Flexible and Shift Schedules in 2004 Summary. Accessed on July 23, 2011.