Any graveyard shift workers here have experience with daylight lamps?
September 21, 2016 11:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to start a new job with a night shift next week (11pm to 7am). I'm considering getting one of those daylight imitating lamps to help maintain my circadian rhythm, but I'm wondering if anyone really needs or uses them, and if so, what kind? Are the little ones good enough? Or could I just get a blue-ish lightbulb and screw that into my regular lamp? Also do they rack up your electric bill a lot or is it negligible?

Any other tips from night time workers appreciated, but I'd like to stay away from using sleeping pills or caffeine (ime, neither have much affect on me other than caffeine giving me the jitters).
posted by picklenickle to Shopping (7 answers total)
Instead of worrying about light, worry about DARK. Blackout curtains, a sleep mask, and a box fan for white noise are essentials for me. I also wear dark sunglasses home in the mornings to help me make the transition to sleepytime.

I generally don't have any trouble staying awake on my overnight shifts but I have a very active job, so perhaps that won't work as well for you. But yeah, my main concern is getting to sleep during the day after being amped up all night at work.
posted by adiabat at 12:00 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you want a sunny bulb for your regular lamp, go to a pet store and look at bulbs for lizards. They have the sun spectrum (and heat creating) bulbs for a lot cheaper than the human home improvement store.

My husband found them helpful and the cost was negligible for us.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:51 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, good thinking, Eyebrows! I forgot about those; used to have one for my gecko.
posted by picklenickle at 1:53 AM on September 22, 2016

I currently work an early shift where I am at work for several hours of darkness at the start of the day. I find a desk lamp like this one useful - it can vary not only its brightness but also its blue/redness. The highest colour temperature on this model is 6500kelvin - which is equivalent to an overcast day. The maximum brightness is 1200lux - is again equivalent to an overcast day (but well short of what you would get with an SAD lightbox). There is quite good evidence that the blueness of light has an effect on circadean rhythms which is more important than its intensity (which is why we should be cautious about reading from CRT screens just before trying to get to sleep). Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin which makes you sleepy. If I stick the light onto full brightness and highest colour temperature then it is good for making me feel more alert (you might want to consider background lighting as well as task lighting).
posted by rongorongo at 2:26 AM on September 22, 2016

I have used a Sleeptracker watch and found it really helpful. It wakes you up when you are closer to a waking state so you need to have a window of time that will work for you. If you have ever woken and felt fine and fallen back asleep and then felt like hell when the alarm goes off 40 minutes later, this helps prevent that feeling. I have not used them but I understand there are apps that will serve the same function.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:32 AM on September 22, 2016

I don't do shift work, but I do wake up before dawn. I use a Phillips daylight alarm and it is AWESOME. I have raved about it here before so I'll leave it at that. It works very, very well for me and it was worth the money.

(But dark is also important. Use them together. Dark puts you to sleep and light wakes you up.)
posted by epanalepsis at 7:11 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I worked nights for 20 years. For me the hardest was the days off. There are two main strategies: 1. Get home and force yourself to stay up til 2 then take a one hour nap then regular bedtime. 2. Go to sleep for four hours when you get home then get up til your slightly later bedtime.
Either way, as soon as you wake sit for 30 minutes right next to the sun lamp. You may have a headache when you first start using it. (The bulbs can be pricey to repair so check out the bulb replacement cost before you buy).
Working nights is proven to be hard on your health so the more you can do to eat healthy, get exercise, avoid stress and get your eight hours of sleep in the better your health will be.
posted by SyraCarol at 10:22 AM on September 22, 2016

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