The circadian "gold standard" is not to change shifts at all, but those working only night shifts must maintain a daytime sleep pattern, even during days off, to avoid reentrainment to a daytime pattern. Working nights for long periods is difficult due to pressures to participate in daytime family and social activities or to be involved regularly in administrative activities.
There is a compromise known as anchor sleep, which minimizes circadian disruption. By sleeping a block of at least 4 h at the same time every day, one tends to anchor the circadian rhythm. It can be useful for permanent night-shift workers during their days off or during short periods of irregular shift work, making it easier to return to "normal" sleep patterns.
Social life is important for shift workers. Maintaining close ties with family and friends helps to relieve stress and mitigates the sense of temporal isolation that shift workers face. Planning for quality social time is as vital as planning for work.
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