Its funny, with all the medical advancements and new theories and everything..........sometimes the old wisdom is still best.
I work night shifts and have struggled with sleeping issues. I used to go over 48 hours without sleeping then crash and burn and sleep close to 20. All sorts of issues stemming from my disturbed sleeping pattern. Overeating, being short with people in my personal life, lethargic lifestyle (sitting in front of the computer all day, playing video games for hours on end, watching movies all night).
I had to really take an active role in putting a stop to this stuff. I didn't do anything dramatic at all. I just followed the old sleep disturbance rules:
1. I cut caffeine outta my diet entirely. A big part of my problem was that I'd drink Pepsi all night on the job, then go home and not sleep. Next thing I knew, it was time to go to work again and I had not gotten any rest. Not safe.
2. I realized I sleep better at night because it is cooler at night. So, I put up a nice blind in my bedroom with a large "mil" rating that blocks out the sun. This makes the room darker and cooler.
3. Part of my daily routine now is going to the gym, even if it is just for 30 min. walking on the treadmill. I do this before going into work at night. This activity wakes me up for the night shift, but also helps with me being truly "tired" in the morning when it is time to sleep instead of just being "mentally fatigued". I don't go if I am working a 12 hr shift that night, but I do go all other nights, so thats 5 nights a week I go.
4. I cut out eating during my night shift. I might at the most have a very small snack I packed for myself. I quit drinking any fluids, even water, around 3am, I am home trying to go to bed around 8am.
5. I don't do much of anything in the morning after work other than feed the cats and take a COOL shower. I think having to shower before going to bed causes a lot of the sleep disturbance nurses face. It wakes you up and then you don't sleep. I can't skip the shower after work, so its a very quick cool shower, then I shower again before work. I try to go to bed within a half hour of gettting home.
6. Its a pain, but I set my alarm now even on my off days. Whatever time I am going to bed, the alarm is set for 8hrs. I usually fall back into sleeping at night on my off days. I don't let myself oversleep. That begins the cycle of not sleeping for a long period of time then oversleeping.
7. I used to read in bed. Not anymore. My bed is for sleeping only now. The reading gets done on the couch in the living room now. My brain associates the bed with sleeping now, not reading (which means you are alert, awake).
My oversleeping was a direct result of poor sleeping for days before the crash and burn. Once I got more disciplined with my sleeping, oversleeping was a thing of the past.