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Shady breakfasts bring better sleep

Wearing sunglasses while eating breakfast can help people sleep better.
Wearing sunglasses while eating breakfast can help people sleep better. Lost at e minor

EATING breakfast while wearing sunglasses after finishing night shift could help insomniacs sleep better, a leading psychologist says.

The advice follows the release of an Australian Coal and Energy Survey report last week which stated shift workers on immoveable rosters were more likely to suffer fatigue and depression than those with control over the number of hours they worked.

But Gryphon Psychology director Naomi Armitage said while rosters were a contributor to fatigue, other lifestyle factors played a part.

"There are lots of things people can do to manage their rosters better, including how to manage shift change from day and night, and knowing the right foods to eat," Dr Armitage said.

The Australian Coal and Energy Survey found of 4500 mining and energy workers and their partners surveyed, about 58% reported difficulties falling asleep between successive night shifts. That figure increased to 62% when shifts changed between day and night.

People could control the extent of their fatigue a number of ways, Dr Armitage said. These included keeping a regular sleeping schedule, reducing caffeine consumption, quitting smoking and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine.

When coming off night shift, Dr Armitage said, reducing the eyes' exposure to light helped to fall asleep.

"I often tell people to eat their Weet-Bix with sunnies on to reduce exposure to light," she said. "It is important to keep a regular bed and wake-time even on the weekends when there is the temptation (to) stay up late and sleep in."


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