10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep

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Too hot? Too noisy? Too bright? Too tired? This is common feedback we get from most night shift workers, when trying to get solid shut-eye during the day. So it’s about time you got some help in the bedroom, to change your rest period from a two on the sleeping scales, to a ten!

Night shift workers, here are 10 of our most loved sleeping aids for that blissful night sleep #shiftworksleep #nightshift #shiftworktip #graveyardshift #3rdshift

I didn’t want to become known as the nurse who constantly yawns while taking blood pressure and stabbing people with needles (safety risk much?).

So I got to extensively researching, observing and trying my own methods to see what worked in order to get some quality sleep. The items below will pave the way to a solid day-time sleep and a much smoother shift.

1. Blue Light Blocking Glasses 

How do you wind down after a busy night shift? Scrolling your device, watching mindless reality TV, reading or playing video games?

While these things are all effective, they are actually keeping you awake. The light coming from your phone, the TV and bedside light (even the sun) emit something called blue light.

During the day this light is necessary to tell our body clock what to do, but during the night (or while on night shift) it messes with everything – particularly our sleep hormones who crave darkness. 

These glasses block this blue light from entering your eyes, meaning you can still do your normal “routine” after a shift and not disturb your bodies standard wind down. 

There are lots of companies making these glasses, but we use “Swannies” from Swanwick Sleep mainly because they block over 99% of blue light, in comparison to about 50-80% of others on the market.

We also love them because they are slick, well made, quality hinges and importantly, they actually work. 

We are pretty passionate about these glasses and think they are a no-brainer for shift workers. So we wrote a bunch of other posts explaining more about blue light and what to look for in “night shift glasses”

We put them on about two hours before sleep, but the earlier the better.

And what do we find when wearing them… Fall asleep quicker, deeper quality of sleep and don’t wake up ever feeling groggy. They are honestly pure magic.

Find out more at Swanwick Sleep and explore their funky range of frame styles.

2. Blackout Blinds 

I know you hear this all the time, but blacking out your room is a critical part of sleeping during the day.

We should aim for 100% blackout or as close to it as you can.

Using blackout blinds is the easiest way to do this unless you move your entire room down into the basement or a room without windows. 

We have tried foil, trash bags, sheets on the windows and while these options worked for a while they either fell down or looked super ugly, ruing “the look” of my bedroom.

There are a few different types of blinds we want to recommend, with all available on Amazon across incredible reviews. 

  1. Original Blackout Pleated Paper ShadeOpens in a new tab.
  2. NICETOWN Blackout Curtain Blinds Window PanelsOpens in a new tab.
  3. Decor Avenue Custom Cordless Cellular ShadeOpens in a new tab. (pictured)

See our shift work tools page HERE for more options to suit your bedroom.

It’s time to create your own “cave” which you cannot wait to dive into!

3. Effective Eye Mask 

Are you getting sick of that small but relentless stream of light coming through the blinds, forcing you to change sleeping positions onto the cold side of the bed?

Put a stop to it by wearing an eye mask which actually delivers on what it says… block the light.

We have found finally found one from Swanwick Sleep which does an unbelievable job!

  • Silk – It’s the most comfortable eye mask I have ever worn!
  • Oversized – as seen in the images
  • One strap (not adjustable but isn’t an issue for most)
  • Actually blocks out the light. I can’t see anything!

Check out the Swanwick Sleep website here to browse their eye masks and take advantage of any current discount or sale they have on offer, there is generally always something going on in the discount department!

If you’re after something a little different, it’s worth checking out two other eye masks called Alafen MulberryOpens in a new tab. and Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep MaskOpens in a new tab.. They are both available on Amazon and are quality eye masks in their own right.

We have created an entire YouTube video eye masks for sleeping you’re going to love! You can check it out by clicking on the image below. 

4. Ear Plugs 

Finally! Earplugs you can leave in all day. They don’t fall out or irritate your ears.

The color is a modest beige if you want to wear them not just for sleeping but for outdoor or public use, like working in a bar. 

If you have smaller ear canals, try the Mack’s Slim Fit Soft Foam Earplugs. They will probably be a better fit for you. You can check out both the regular Macks and the slim via Amazon here. 

Are you trying to block out more than the daytime noise?

How about your spouse or partners snoring when you’re back to “normal hours?”

We have recently discovered the VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece which may put an end to your annoying sleeping problems for good!

If you need a little more than the Macks earplugs listed above, it’s worth checking out by clicking on the image below to explore the vital sleep website.

The reviews from people who’s life (and marriage) have been changed simply due to wearing this mouthpiece is amazing.

5. Pedestal Fan

My favorite feeling…Finally laying horizontal after a night shift, under the warm blankets but with a slight breeze on my face from our pedestal fan.

Well, for me that is! The fan annoys Dan beyond belief, hence this tip is clearly not for everyone.

This black, stylish Lasko Remote Control Pedestal FanOpens in a new tab. (on Amazon) will block out the noise and keep your room cool. We should be aiming for a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-19 c) for optimal sleep.

This particular, amazing fan comes with a 1-year warranty, is easy to clean (without tools!) and has a self-timer and remote for ultra lazy behavior after night shift. 

Some of my night shift working mates appreciate the tower fan variety like the Lasko Wind Curve Tower FanOpens in a new tab. (available via Amazon). 

Why? It’s slick and they prefer the aesthetics. I like the old school variety because of the louder noise, which I find very relaxing. 

Whatever your flavor, fans are a game-changer.

10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep - Standing fan - The Other Shift

6. Comfortable Bedding

You might be thinking what’s comfortable bedding got to do with falling asleep?

Well, a bad pillow can cause you neck pain and headaches. An uncomfortable pillow can sink and cause back pain while poorly made sheets can feel like you’re sleeping on sandpaper.

I have found that as a night shift worker, my bedroom needs to feel like a 5 star hotel.

I need it to be my happy place where I can physically stop and reset and also a positive place mentally where I am totally at ease. And having great bedding helps all of that.

Here are my recommendations on bedding which we use and love:

Dan Pillow _ The Other Shift|

7. White Noise Machine

The machine is pretty simple. It’s a fan covered with a plastic casing. The different holes make a variety of sounds depending on the vent setting. 

If you’re looking to block the outside noise or even the non-stop thoughts inside your head, this is brilliant.

It takes your mind away from your to-do-list and allows you to finally relax.

Bliss! The Marpac White Noise Machine in unbelievably popular among my workplace and also on Amazon and it’s worth checking out the reviews. 

How about an alarm clock with white noise settings!? We found one and it’s brilliant! Check it out here in a post we wrote titled 7 Best Alarm Clocks for Night Shift Workers

8. Lavender Oil

Before starting shift work, the most I knew about Lavender was it smelt good and grew in mom’s garden.

Little did I know it has antibacterial and pain relief properties, is 100% natural and helps us sleep! 

But how do you use it?

  • A few sprays on your pillow
  • A few drops rubbed into your wrist and temples
  • Mix in a few drops to your warm bath after the shift
  • With an oil diffuser, like the effective URPOWER Essential Oil DiffuserOpens in a new tab.. It is very reasonably priced and is incredibly popular on Amazon. Click here to take a look.  

I need to be real with you. I wasn’t into this method at all, for no particular reason. But I was adamant I wanted to try everything I could before taking medications to sleep.

It seems that lavender has a gorgeous calming effect on me which works beautifully well after a stressful, busy shift and I highly recommend it. See the Sky Organics Essential Lavender Oil on Amazon as it’s reasonably priced and actually works. 

9. Melatonin

Confession. I’ve only used Melatonin a handful of times and it’s generally my last resort.

Why? I simply want to try natural alternatives first before I take pills.

Dan tried it when he first started working the graveyard shift and it worked brilliantly after he couldn’t stare at the ceiling for one more moment!

While I don’t take it very often, I encourage you to have Melatonin readily available if and when you reach your point of no return.

This two-pack is great value and much cheaper than running to the local store and buying it off the shelf last minute.

I use the 3mg – 5mg, as I have found the 10mg, is WAY too strong for me and I wake up feeling incredibly groggy, so just be careful what you are selecting. Find Natrol Melatonin on Amazon

10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep - x2 pack Melatonin - The Other Shift

Related posts:

10. Reading Book Light 

Despite all the tricks and tips, some days sleep just won’t happen. It’s frustrating and super annoying but there is no purpose to just lying there counting lost hours (don’t do this, it never works).

Instead, why not try reading?

Some lights like the TopElek Reading Book LightOpens in a new tab. have different settings that emit softer light.

By pairing a reading book light with your blue light blocking glasses, this allows you to concentrate on something else while not confusing those critical sleep hormones.

This nifty book light has 9 warm/cool/white brightness settings which are much softer on your eyes than a regular book light. It’s USB rechargeable and is great for even softback books.  

Normally, I only need to read for about 15 – 30 minutes before my eyes start to close and I put my bookmark back a few pages because I have no idea what I just read..

.Reading is a much better use of my time over just lying in bed building up steam. See the TopElek Reading Book Light on Amazon

Book light | shift work tools

If you’re interested to explore more reading book lights, we did an entire review titled “5 Best Reading Book Lights That Will Help You Sleep“, that will help you make an informed decision about your next reading light. 

Bonus Night Shift Sleep Aids: 

  • Six Steps to Sleep program. The program claims to “Cure Your Insomnia in 6 Simple Steps & Start Sleeping for 8 Hours Every Night – in Just 3 Days!” If you’re intrigued and want to learn more, click this link and find out for yourself.
  • A quality mattress protector – Dan and I used to have one which was basically a plastic tarp. It was hot, made a lot of noise and wasn’t very comfortable. This mattress protector by Nolah is incredible if yours is ready for an upgrade and you want ultimate comfort. Click the link above to check out the pricing.
  • I am one of those people who have a sudden rush of thoughts and ideas as soon as my head hits the pillow. Having a diary, notepad or this pretty Life Planner by my bed makes a world of difference. 
  • My favorite winter item is a heat pack. Why? As Dan is generally not in the bed, it gets freezing cold by myself! I absolutely love my Microwavable Heat Pad (Bean Bag)Opens in a new tab. and even more when he puts it in bed for me!

What If I Have Tried All Those Traditional Sleep Aids and Still Can’t Sleep?

We get it. You’ve tried the suggestions we gave throughout this post and you need more. Here are a few posts which will spark your imagination and get you excited. 

[VIDEO] – Do you work multiple night shifts in a row? This video I recently recorded will be a huge help.

Summary: 10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep

Sleeping during the day due to your night shift job may be totally unnatural, but make it easier on yourself by giving these handy sleep aids a go!

From the brilliant night shift glasses, namely “Swannies” to the simple sleep mask, we hope you get the full 7- 9 hours sleep you deserve using these night shift sleep aids.

We love and use them now as part of our daily lives!

If you need further advice or tips about sleep, shift work or night shift please email us or comment below.

Happy sleeping ya’ll!


Emma signature | theothershift.com

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Here are 10 of my favourite items I can't live without as a night shift worker if I want to get any sleep! #shiftworktip #nightshift #shiftwork
Night shift workers, here are 10 of our most loved sleeping aids for that blissful night sleep #shiftworksleep #nightshift #shiftworktip #graveyardshift #3rdshift
Struggling to sleep after a busy night shift? Here are 10 of my favourite sleep aid items which will help you sleep tonight! #shiftworksleepaid #shiftwork #nightshift #nightshiftsleep
Night shift workers, here are 10 of our most loved sleeping aids for that blissful night sleep #shiftworksleep #nightshift #shiftworktip #graveyardshift #3rdshift
Sleeping Aids night shift | theothershift.com

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

2 thoughts on “10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids for a Heavenly Sleep

  1. Thank you so much for these tips & blog! I’m a swing/night shift CNA insomniac whose going to Nursing school & my sleep schedule is all off it’s rocker ? I’m excited to try these tips out!

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