There are many obvious dangers on the jobsite. Heavy equipment moving all around you, large objects looming overhead, open trenches and anything else that demands the use of a hardhat and steel toe boots. While OSHA has established standards for jobsite safety, there is one thing OSHA can’t protect you from – yourself.
Sleep plays a large role in our ability to function at a high capacity. In a job that is just as mentally demanding as it is physically demanding the ability to be sharp is a vital necessity. Imagine how catastrophic it could be if the excavator operator dozed off while working close to individuals in a trench. In that particular situation, OSHA regulations may have been followed exactly, but that didn’t keep the operator from causing damage or injury.
If you struggle with carving out enough time for 6 to 8 hours of sleep, or if you have problems falling asleep, here are some helpful tips:
- Unplug from your television or cell phone a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to sleep.Even if you zone out in front of the TV, your brain doesn’t. It is continually processing the images on the screen. This causes a delayed response in your body’s ability to “turn off”. Also, the bright lights of the TV and cell phone screen stimulate your brain. Think about it, if bright sunlight hits your eyes even when they are closed, it generally makes you wake up.
- Eat Better.This is a very broad statement and one that may be somewhat overplayed. However, it’s still a gray area for most people. Diets heavy in fat and sodium (fast-food, prepackage, frozen meals) make you sluggish. By eating a balanced diet; vegetables/fruits, whole grains and lean cuts of meat, your body receives vitamins and other nutrients that it can’t get from prepackaged or fast-food items. When your body is getting the things that it needs it responds better, allowing you to get a more restful sleep.
- Hydrate.Approximately 2/3rds of your body is composed of water. In a physically demanding job, you lose water throughout the day by sweating. If you aren’t replacing fluids you can put a lot of stress on your vital organ systems. By continually replacing fluids throughout the day, you maintain a balance and help all systems in your body act as they should.
- Relax. That might seem easier said than done, but the ability to decompress is greatly beneficial. You may lie in bed with a million thoughts running through your head that you can’t seem to turn off, what can you do to fix that? Keep a pad of paper and a pencil/pen by your bed. Before you go to bed write down everything that is going through your mind. Take 10 deep breaths and relax!