Sleeping problems and fatigue are common for most shift workers and people with varying work schedules. The human biological clock naturally adjusts to the daylight. In shift work, the internal clock is disturbed in relation to the circadian rhythm. This may cause numerous symptoms.
The most common signs of shift work stress include fatigue, insomnia, nausea, difficulty concentrating and stomach problems. The symptoms may impair working ability and also increase work safety risks. It is therefore particularly important for shift workers to get enough light at the right time of the day. This helps keep the biological clock in pace and promote health. Light therapy is a proven and generally recommended aid for synchronising the biological clock in shift work.
You can boost your energy level when needed by using the energy program of the AYO mobile app. The correct timing of light therapy in shift work depends on the work schedule and is therefore case-specific. Here are instructions for the most common shift work schedules:
Morning shift: Light treatment between 6 am and 10 am. Select a 20-40 minute energy program from the goAYO mobile app. Light therapy in the morning signals the body to wake up. The natural melatonin production decreases and the vitality is improved.
Evening shift: In the morning, light therapy is most efficient between 6 am and 10 am. It can also be carried out in the afternoon for example between 4 pm and 7:30 pm if you want to sleep longer.
Night shift instructions
1-3 consecutive days: We recommend light therapy when waking up after the shift. Select a 20-40 minute energy program from the goAYO mobile app.
It is not worth adjusting the biological clock for a 1 to 3 day long change in the sleep-wake rhythm as the sleep cycle moves gradually to the new schedule and it cannot be done in a few days.
Therefore, using post-sleep light therapy helps waking up after a night shift, but the biological clock is not altered.
Night shift, for more than 3 consecutive days: We recommend light therapy before the shift begins and also in the middle of the shift if you feel tired. Change in the biological clock:
The biological clock is gradually shifted to react to the night as daytime and to the day as night-time. You’ll feel more energetic during the night and fall asleep easier after the night shift.
After the consecutive night shifts, moving the biological clock back to normal rhythm can be facilitated by using light treatment in the morning between 6 am and 10 am or alternatively between 4 pm and 7.30 pm. After a night shift, adaptation to the normal rhythm usually takes 2-3 days.