Police Officers careers often start with shift work. And many remain on a shift schedule throughout their entire career.
I am going to tell you how shift work affects your sleep and how to fix it.
Today we are talking about being tired and wired. Some people describe it as being a night owl. You know, you drag yourself through your day and need coffee or sugar to make it through your shift, especially 8 hours or so after waking. And then when it’s time for bed you get a surge of energy for a few hours and you stay awake, knowing you will pay for it the next day but it’s the most energy you’ve had since you woke up that it’d be a shame to waste it on sleep.
Or you try to go to sleep and you toss and turn for hours until you give up and get out of bed, or eventually sleep kicks in only to wake you a few hours later.
How many of you feel like this?
You definitely aren’t alone.
Why this happens and how to fix it.
Cortisol levels are generally high in the morning as you wake from a prolonged period of sleep. We call this your ‘cortisol awakening response’. As the day progresses, your cortisol levels naturally begin to drop slowly and consistently ending up low in the late evening. This allows your body to keep a regular sleeping pattern, with your cortisol level dropping for periods of sleep, then replenishing during the following morning.
But when you are on night shifts. The pattern and timing of the release of cortisol is reversed to allow for higher levels throughout the late evening and slowly dropping through the night so they are low in the morning when you would go to sleep.
With your shifts being all over the place your body doesn’t have a lot of time to adjust to its new rhythm. Over time your hormones get all out of synch.
The good news is there are things you can do to help.
First, we need to help your body calm the chaos by lowering your cortisol levels in order to slow down and get to sleep.
Crawl into bed, turn the lights out and focus on your slow deep breathing until you feel your body let go and you are ready to fall asleep.
If you need more help to turn off the noise in your brain add a drop of lavender essential oil to your temples, base of your neck and wrists.
Consistency is key. Try this for the next week and let me know how it is working for you by emailing me at email@example.com
To learn more about ways to reduce the effects of shift work and stress on your body, join our 911 Stress Management Group to keep you motivated and accountable.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle. Also known as The Elite Trainer for Police and First Responders, Andi is an expert in peak performance and how stress physically affects your body.
The one that’s listed in the blog doc is:
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi has a background in athletics including a 25+yr career as a personal trainer, nutrition and mindset coach to athletes and stressed out high end executives.
Being healthy and active was what she lived for. Until her body started waking absolutely exhausted, workouts become something to push through instead of enjoy. A short fuse crept in, motivation left and injuries seemed to be a part of life. All of this added up to the point that she had to stop all activity altogether.
Doctors, specialists and prescriptions were never able to fix the problem.
Once Andi realized she had a genetic stress condition that puts her body into an increased stress response state all the time (similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day) was she able to figure out what was happening and how to reverse it.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to thrive when your body is always functioning at higher than usual stress levels. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and a tanked immune system that she knew can result from high levels of stress that are out of your control.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi created 911 Lifestyle once she realized the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and First Responders so they can peak during crisis, recover quickly after, have energy left over for their families and become the Elite First Responders that they were born to be.