Shift Work Bedroom Ideas: Create the Ultimate Sleeping Oasis

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Are you struggling to feel like you have gotten a full and restful sleep after you work an odd shift? If so, then you are not alone. In fact, the main complaint that shift workers consistently have is that they are never quite able to feel fully rested. This comes as no surprise as shift workers, especially those on night shift, have sleeping conditions unlike any other schedule there is in the workplace.

Creating the ultimate sleeping oasis as a shift worker, in order to restore and feel fully-rested, often involves a complete make-over including new curtains, fresh paint, a comfortable mattress and the use of noise-canceling devices.

Re-thinking the way your bedroom is set-up in order to optimize your sleep patterns is a complicated and possibly lengthy process. Join us as we delve into all of the things you need to know before you dive into this new adventure.

The Sleep Problem for Shift Workers

Sleep issues are the most constant and serious problem that a shift worker is faced with. This is likely due to the frequent disturbance of the shift worker’s sleep, the longer work hours, often grueling conditions and increased stresses under which many shift workers work.

Unfortunately, increased sleepiness and fatigue are major issues in the work place. They can impact your performance at work greatly.

Fatigue in the workplace can cause issues like decreased concentration, frequently missed shifts, workplace accidents, serious errors of judgement and in some cases even injury or fatality.

Many shift workers have increased responsibilities in keeping the world safe and moving such as healthcare workers, policeman, and firefighters. Further, other careers that have shift work schedules are employed in increased dangerous situations like factories and labs. Either one of these types of jobs requires the utmost concentration possible.

If all of this is not enough to convince you that sleep is a crucial part of your health and your job performance, then you might also want to consider these other health issues that shift workers are more susceptible to.

Shift workers who do not get an adequate amount of sleep are at a higher risk for heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes and some studies even suggest that certain types of cancer may become an issue.

The good news is that although there are significant consequences to the compromised sleep patterns of shift workers, there are reliable ways to increase the quality and length of your sleep.

By making some changes to the area in which you sleep, you can significantly increase your sleep patterns and decrease the significant issues that can often accompany the shift worker’s sleep schedule.

Key Shift Work Bedroom Design Ideas

While the design of your bedroom is not the only issue that you are up against when it comes to quality sleep, the bedroom is a good place to start when fixing your troubles.

While you may not be able to take on each of these recommendations all at once, you should begin to slowly transition your bedroom into the oasis of sleep that you deserve.

Prioritize Your Sleep

Most sleep experts agree that there are really only two main reasons that you should use your bedroom for: sleep and quality time with your partner. Any other uses for your bedroom could lead to negative effects on both your sleep and relationships.

Check out this post if you’re trying to get your relationship back on track if shift work has caused you to drift…

Therefore, the easiest step to making your bedroom more sleep-friendly is to remove all of the things that do not serve these purposes.

One of the best things about this first step is that it does not require any monetary investment. Instead, you simply remove all of the unnecessary clutter and distractions from your bedroom.

You should clean out any of the items that do not belong in your bedroom too.

This includes items stored under the bed or tucked into the corner of the room. WebMD agrees that clutter, even clutter tucked away underneath your bed, can cause serious increases in stress and anxiety.

It goes without saying that stress and anxiety are not good for your ability to get a solid and steady night (or day) of sleep.

Find other spaces to store any books, electronics, laundry that has not been folded, equipment for exercise, piles of papers or things for work.

If you must use your bedroom for storage, consider only storing clean sheets, or other bedding in your bedroom. If you must leave other objects in the bedroom, be sure that they are neatly organized for minimal clutter.

One of the problem areas for many bedrooms is the surface of the nightstands. Many people find that the most clutter lives on the nightstand as they use it for storage.

When possible, look for nightstands that have drawers or cabinets built in to minimize the clutter that is visible to the eye like this stylish oneOpens in a new tab. on Amazon.

Banish the Electronics

Experts at the Sleep Foundation make an excellent argument about how electronics are completely disruptive to sleep.

Not only are electronics a major source of distraction to your sleep, but the light that they put out are also completely disruptive to your total sleep pattern as a whole. This article provides a great explanation on blue light and how you can avoid it.  

In fact, your circadian rhythm is based almost entirely on the light that is exposed to your eyes and body throughout the day. For this reason, the tiny lights that are put out through various electronics can actually disrupt your sleep far more than you might realize.

Of course, ridding your sleep space of all light is probably not realistic, but should you have a bedroom television then you should look to hide it in a cabinet to minimize the effects.

To minimise the blue light we use blue light blocking glasses from Swanwick Sleep. There are a permanent part of our sleeping routine and I struggle to sleep without them. Click on the image below to explore.

The Colors of Your Walls

Many people do not think about how the color of paint they choose for the walls of their home could affect their mood or even their patterns of sleep. However, the colors that you put on your walls will affect you in more ways than you may think.

There is no one answer that can tell you which color is the best for your walls. In order to determine this, you need to think about the furniture that you have put in the room, the bedspread you have chosen, and even the curtains that will hang in your oasis.

There is one thing that rings true no matter what is in your room, the pastel or a muted version of the color you choose is best.

You also want to choose a single color rather than painting your bedroom into multiple shades or multiple colors. More than one shade will alert your brain and whether you realize it or not this subtle change could keep you up for longer than you would like to be awake.

Experts believe that the best colors for promoting sleep are on the cold side of the color palette.

These colors are blues, greens and natural browns. These colors are usually associated with nature and even with a sense of calm. Of course, if you also associate these colors with those feelings, then the colors will likely help to promote the peaceful feeling that you need in order to induce sleep.

The worst colors that you could paint your bedroom fall on the warm end of the color palate. These colors are red, yellow and orange, colors that promote alertness and could even be described as aggressive.

In fact, in nature, plenty of the most poisonous animals are marked with these same colors- one of the reasons that we may feel alert when we see these same colors on our bedroom walls.

Check on Your Mattress

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are trying to get sleep is to sleep on an old or inappropriately supported mattress.

If you wake up from your slumber feeling stiff or uncomfortable, then you would be wise to guess that your mattress is causing you undue pain and discomfort.

On the other hand, a well-crafted and supportive mattress could significantly improve the quality of your sleep and accordingly could improve other aspects of your health.

Considering the amount of time that you spend on your mattress, it is a wise investment to make sure that you are purchasing the right mattress for you.

This is why we chose to buy our mattress though Dream CloudOpens in a new tab.. Though you can find cheaper mattresses around, the quality and comfort it second to none. Click hereOpens in a new tab. or the banner below to see current deals and what’s on offer.

If you want a mattress that is best for your sleep position, then you need to find one that is the right mix of both support for your body and comfort for your sleep.

Your body weight should be able to evenly spread over the mattress in order to provide relief to your pressure points as you rest over the night.

You also want to make sure that your spine remains aligned through the support of you mattress, this will keep you from having back pain due to an uncomfortable bout with a mattress.

You should also consider getting a mattress that is the right size for you and your partner to comfortably sleep and move around. Most families have a queen size bed, although many who upgrade to a King size bed are thrilled with the extra room that they have to move around on the bed.

Further, if either you or your partner is taller than average height, you might consider a king bed for the extra length.

The last factor you should consider when purchasing your mattress is how old you are. While this might be an uncomfortable conversation with a mattress salesman, it is an important one.

As you age, your skin becomes more taught and less elastic. It actually may be uncomfortable to lay on a firm mattress which is what most companies sell more than other styles.

For the older generations, a plush and soft mattress might be a better option than any of those advertised with high firmness. If you fit into this category, Necter SleepOpens in a new tab. may be able to help you out. Their range of bedding and mattress is phenomenal.

Blackout Curtains for Reduced Light

We have already mentioned your circadian rhythm.

Your body is built to wake up with the morning light, it is also built to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone, as your body no longer detects light. For this reason, making your bedroom as dark as possible is one of the best and easiest changes you can make to improve the quality of your sleep.

There are different levels of blackout shades.

When you begin to shop for blackout curtains, then you will want to find the level that blacks out the ultimate amount of light. As an added bonus, blackout curtains are also frequently used for reducing the power bill by blocking out the heat that sneaks in through windows.

If blackout curtains are not an immediate option, then you should consider purchasing another method for blocking out light.

An eye mask for sleep is a really good option and some of the more high-end eye masks are a great for keeping out sunlight. We wrote a comparison post of the best eye masks which you can check out here.Opens in a new tab.

If these do not work as well for you, then you should consider getting blackout curtains ultimately. You’ll find on our shift work tools page here Opens in a new tab.which ones we recommend.

Reduce the Noise

There are several ways that you can work to reduce the noise that enters your bedroom, especially if there are other members of your family home and awake during the hours that you are trying to sleep.

Rugs are a great option for noise reduction. This is especially true if you have dogs or a partner that wakes at different times than you. Not only do rugs, such as this very popular oneOpens in a new tab. on Amazon, reduce the noise from movement on the floor, but they also reduce the general noise within the room. 

Much like a rug can reduce noise, any added fabrics inside your bedroom can also help to reduce noise. Fabric has a way of absorbing sound, so you can really make a difference in the noise level by adding upholstered furniture within your bedroom. Y

ou could buy an upholstered headboard, or a chair and ottoman. Further, you might consider buying a tapestry or a fabric wall hanging like this gorgeous oneOpens in a new tab. I found whilst browsing the net – as it provides an added flair to your oasis.

Another great way to reduce noise within your bedroom is the use of white noise. Much like how babies can use white noise to sleep better, white noise can help you sleep too.

White noise can be achieved through a machine or even a fan running in the room. White noise helps to drown out any other noises that are happening in your home.

We love this affordable white noise machine on Amazon but I often simply use our aurotherapy diffuser as background noise for the same effect.

Buy the Right Bedding

Believe it or not, your bedding has a huge impact on the quality of your sleep.

As we mentioned in an above section, colors play a serious part on the mood you have when you are laying down to rest your head. Not only that, but your bedding can also have a major impact on the level of comfort as you lay down at night.

There is conflicting information about the best color of bedding. Some experts think that white is likely the best color for your bed. The thought is that the color white is associated with cleanliness and possibly luxury.

Other experts disagree claiming that the white of the sheets might reflect light and disrupt sleep patterns.

Regardless, you should pick a color that is cool and neutral.

You want to choose a color that promotes a feeling of calm and peace, as it needs to promote that calm feeling in order to allow you to achieve that sense of sleepiness.

You may have heard that higher thread counts in your sheets provide more comfort, but unfortunately, higher thread counts can also cause you to get heated during the night. Body heat gets trapped in the higher thread count and that can disrupt your sleep because it causes discomfort from overheating.

There are sheets which are engineered for sleepers who run hot during the night. These beddings are often built with wicking material and are supposed to promote a less disruptive sleep. For those who are hot sleepers, these popular sheets on AmazonOpens in a new tab. may be just what you’re looking for.

If these are not an option, then sheets that have a thread count lower than 450 are what we’d recommend, such as these extremely popular onesOpens in a new tab., are the best for temperature control.

Bedtime Routine

Just like when you are raising children, having a specific bedtime routine is essential for promoting healthy sleep.

If you always brush your teeth, remove makeup and then turn down your sheets to crawl into bed, then that steady routine can actually help to trigger your body to understand that it is time for sleep.

Be sure that those who also live in the house with you understand your sleeping pattern and associated routine, so they don’t impact this as you’re trying to get into the groove. If your family are struggling to live with a shift worker, ask them to read this postOpens in a new tab. – you’ll thank me later

It’s also on you to be disciplined and not get stuck into what’s currently being played on the TV, causing you to hop into bed 60 minutes later than normal!

Summary: Shift Work Bedroom Ideas: Create the Ultimate Sleeping Oasis

Coming up with a combination of bedroom changes that will help you sleep better is going to be different for each person. Regardless of which options you choose to employ in your room, improving your sleep is essential to your health and happiness.

Once you have improved your sleep, you will wonder how you ever survived before you changed your sleep routine.

Effective and thorough sleep is the best gift that you can provide yourself as a shift worker. The improved mood, work performance and daily energy will be well worth the hassle and cost of switching your bedroom around a little bit.


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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.

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.

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