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Sleep Skills for Shift Workers
Shift workers deserve a lot of credit and support for the hard work they do. Since we’re designed to be awake during the day and asleep at night, doing shift work is inherently difficult. Not only is it challenging, but shift work increases risk of some health conditions, from high blood pressure to depression to menstrual cycle changes. There are many impacts of shift work on sleep and circadian rhythms. Extra monitoring for these medical conditions is important, along with preventive care.

The good news is that there are strategies you can use to improve your daytime sleep. Hand-in-hand is an improvement in night-time alertness, and performance. This course will give you all the information you need about shift work and sleep, then guide you through designing a sleep healthy lifestyle for the shift work schedule. After we learn the essentials of how sleep and your circadian system work, we’ll start designing your personal plan. Shift work strategies you’ll learn to use include precisely timed light and darkness, melatonin and other substances, creating an ideal sleep environment, and engaging the support of your family and friends to stay connected. Ever shift worker can benefit from this course!

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Why Learn to Sleep Well now?

You can go to bed confident that you will sleep well.

No more wondering all day or evening how you are going to sleep tonight. With proven strategies that support your natural sleep-wake cycle, you can feel confident that you will sleep well tonight. You will know what to do to get the sleep you want.

You can become more energetic and enthusiastic for life.

When we're sleepy we lose that joi de vive that fuels our days. Recapture the energy you naturally have when you sleep well night after night. Have the energy you need to not only meet your commitments, but enjoy the extras that bring meaning to your life.

You can get the sleep you need to perform well every day.

When we don’t get the sleep we need, it carries over to impair our performance on the job at work and at home. Learn sleep skills so that you can rely on being at the top of your game with both cognitive and physical performance. You’ll notice the improvement, and so will your boss and co-workers.

You can feel emotionally calm and happy.

Research shows that poor sleep impacts not only our performance, but also our mood and ability to emotionally connect with others. This is where having sleep skills pays off in a better mood, and better relationships with your loved ones. This can be positively life-changing!
Dr. Catherine Darley
Dr. Catherine Darley is a pioneering internationally recognized expert in the use of natural, behavioral, and lifestyle medicine for the treatment of sleep disorders. After decades of patient care, she is bringing this know-how to you in these Skilled Sleeper courses. Dr. Darley’s interest in founding Naturopathic Sleep Medicine arises from the belief that since sleep is so basic and essential to health, it makes sense to use the most effective natural therapies to help people obtain the sleep they need.

Join the Skilled Sleeper community to get the sleep you need to thrive and be your best self!

The Sleep Skills for Shift Workers Course

Module 1: Impacts of Shift Work

It takes good will and diligence to work at night – I know, I’ve been there! Sleeping during the day, and being awake at night is just not how our bodies are designed. Yet it’s necessary to keep things going. Living out of sync with our natural body clock has ripple effects on everything from our physical and mental health, performance, and even relationships. In this unit we’ll discuss those effects, and you’ll do the self-assessment looking for red flags in your own experience. The next step is to build your healthcare team and follow-up schedule to really optimize your health while in the challenge of shift work. 
man sleeping

Module 2: How Sleep Works

green hills with a sunrise
Day sleep is fundamentally different from night sleep. A common question is “How do shift workers sleep?” Understanding how sleep works can first help you understand your own experience. But then we can take that knowledge further into improving your daytime sleep. Learn the effects of shift work on sleep and shift work on sleep quality. You will identify how much sleep you do best with, and what happens when you don’t get the sleep you need. Does sleep deprivation impact your physical health, mental health, performance or relationships the most? Shift workers are some of the most sleep deprived people, which has a huge impact on both immediate and long-term health. Learn why shift workers can’t sleep. Fortunately getting adequate sleep is in your control! 

Module 3: Understand Your Circadian System

Your body clock is really a circadian system, that extends from deep in the brain to genes in every cell. All of these are designed for night sleep and daytime alertness. Yet we can use circadian science to enhance both. This unit explains how the central pacemaker in the brain is synchronized by light and dark cues. The rhythms in our cells and organs though are more influenced by the timing of meals, exercise, and social interactions. It’s also a factor whether you are an owl or a lark. This knowledge of how your circadian system works will empower you to structure your lifestyle to support shift work. 
shift worker with a forklift at night

Module 4: Shifting Your Circadian Phase

woman on a laptop on a couch smiling after being well rested
There are skills and strategies to be able to sleep well during the day, and improve alertness at night. Without shifting your body clock, sleep continues to be elusive, so that’s where we’ll start on shift work sleep solutions. This unit covers all the strategies to shift your body clock so you are ready to sleep during the day and perform well at night. You will learn the precise timing for light and darkness, along with the precise use of melatonin to shift your body clock. Since every shift workers’ schedule and home responsibilities differ, you will make a custom plan, bringing together all these components in a way that supports your lifestyle. 

Module 5: Sleeping During the Day

Now that your body clock is aligned, the next piece is to ensure that you can sleep during the day. Learn how to design an ideal daytime sleep environment first. Then learn wind-down strategies and skills to calm your mind before sleep. Many shift workers rely on substances both for sleep and alertness. We will discuss what substances impact sleep, their pros and cons, and how to use them strategically for maximum effectiveness. This is a slippery slope for many people, so knowing what to take and when, while avoiding taking too much, will make all the difference for you. 
police car at night with lightson

Module 6: Improve Night-time Alertness, Performance, and Safety

woman sleeping on a plane with a sleep mask
Now we’ve aligned your circadian system, and optimized your daytime sleep. Let’s turn our focus to improving your experience on the job at night, and avoid shift work sleep disorder. This is where alertness, performance and safety all intersect. There are many effective approaches to improve alertness – from precise use of caffeine, light exposure, exercise, irregular task scheduling, to prescription alerting medications that are approved for shift workers. In this unit get clarity on how you’re experiencing sleepiness, then create an action plan to bring all these techniques into your lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!

Module 7: Stay Socially Connected, without FOMO!

One of the hardest parts of doing shift work is being out of sync with your loved ones and society at large. You’re awake late at night while folks are sleeping, then during the day you need to sleep. Let’s learn strategies to stay connected with our people even while living the shift work lifestyle. First we’ll identify some of the challenges you’re experiencing, including shift work sleep anxiety. Then we will do a deep dive into proven approaches that take advantage of opportunities and keep us social connected. This goes a long way towards enjoyment and having that good quality of life we all deserve! Plus bonus session on shift work and sleep disorders.  
nurses looking at sleep data on their shifts

What Students Say

“Dr. Darley's Women's Health course was wonderful! She provided so many tips for me and my babies sleep in a clear and engaging way.”

- A.E., Women’s Sleep Health student

"It is really good content. Just doing the strategies to improve my bedroom made a difference.” 

- D.A., Skilled Sleeper student

So many people don’t have the skills they need to truly sleep well. Let’s change that, starting today. Invest $295 in getting the sleep you need to be your best self. 

Not Ready to take the course yet?

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Our guarantee:
  • We create courses that improve your sleep. If for any reason you are not happy with the content and the potential impact on your sleep, we will refund your tuition 100% within the first 30 days. Just send us an email.
The content of the Website, such as text, videos, audio, images, and other materials created by the Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine and other materials contained on our Website (collectively, "Content") is for informational purposes only. The Content is not medical advice and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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