Have an Early Shift Start Time? Get Ready in Advance

Mr. Know-It-All Explains

Have an Early Shift Start Time? Get Ready in Advance

While most shiftwork operations start the day shift between 6:00 to 8:00am., there are some operations that start between 4:00 to 6:00am. For those working day shifts with early start times you need to be mindful of the risk of sleep deprivation.

In this article, Mr. Know-It-All will discuss early shift start times and how you can get more sleep the night before work.

Most people require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep to feel well-rested and at their best. However, with a shift start time before 6:00 a.m., it may be difficult to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

For example, an employee with a 45-minute commute and a shift start time of 5:00 a.m. most likely would have to wake up at 3:00 to 3:30 a.m. to arrive at work on time. That means he or she would have to go to bed between 7 to 7:30 p.m. in order to get 8 hours of sleep.


Typically, most people have a very difficult time falling asleep around this time because not only are they usually at their peak alertness level, but there also is plenty of social pressure or household activity to further stimulate alertness.

Why do some operations have early shift start times? Often the driving force behind these shift start times is the commute. If you work in a city with lots of traffic, chances are driving between 8-9am could double or even triple your commute time. Therefore an early start time shortens the commute time for the night crew driving home and the day crew driving to work.

How can you get more sleep before a day shift with an early start time? Try getting everything you need for work ready before you go to bed. In other words, if you can cut time out of your morning routine and then use that time to sleep an extra 10-30 minutes in the morning, it can make you feel much better.

Some tips for adding sleep time in the morning:

  • If you bring breakfast and/or lunch to work, prepare it the night before. That way you can just grab it from the refrigerator and you’re ready to go.
  • Replace a morning shower with a night one. A night shower might help you fall asleep faster and give you more time to sleep in the morning.
  • Layout your clothes the night before. That way you can just roll out of bed and get dressed.

Finally, you might also try going to bed a little bit earlier each day. While you might not normally be tired at 9 or 10pm, you might be able to get to sleep at that time after your first or second day shift.

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