Painting can be hard physical labor, and many crews are putting in extra hours. However, a fatigued team can lead to reduced productivity, sloppy work and safety concerns. Here are some considerations for helping your crew stay sharp and energized throughout the day.
1. Sleep is king
There’s a saying among long haul truck drivers: “The best cure for fatigue is sleep.” The same may be said for painting contractors who often start their 12-hour workdays by waking up at dawn.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. Sticking to a routine is important. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake a up at the same time every morning. A mid-day nap can help rejuvenate you, but 10 to 20 minutes max.
2. Unplug and make a plan
Amish communities are known for their tech avoidance. There is mounting evidence that there may be significant health benefits to “unplugging” an hour before bedtime. Yes, that means no TV, iPad, iPhone or computer. Instead, substitute the tech dependence for activities like reading, playing a board game, putting together a puzzle, taking a walk or sipping a warm Chamomile tea. Most importantly though, begin by writing the next day’s to-do list. This will unburden your mind by relieving the stress of trying to remember everything in your head – allowing you to relax.
3. Be active
Whether you’re a morning person, an afternoon person or an evening person, working out at any time of the day will improve the quality of your sleep. The NSF reports that people who hit the treadmill at 7 a.m. sleep more hours each night, sleep deeper and spend 75 percent more time in restorative sleep stages. You’ll also feel the rush of endorphins, the brain chemicals that energize you for the day.
Body temperatures are warmer in the afternoon, which means your muscles are more pliant and work more efficiently. Exercise will raise your body temperature further and keep it elevated until close to bedtime. This signals your brain that you are ready for sleep.
Be sure to complete any evening workouts at least two hours before going to sleep. This allows your body temperature to drop and let the endorphins to leave your system before bed.
Breathing or stretching exercise at night are great because they encourage relaxation.
4. Stay hydrated
Dehydration robs us of energy and makes it more difficult to concentrate, which may contribute to safety issues, as well as job burnout. As a rule of thumb, drink half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. As an example, if you weighed 180 pounds, you would need ninety ounces of water each day.
5. Take control
Keep in mind that fatigue is sometimes a symptom of other diseases like diabetes, heart disease, thyroid imbalance, anemia, etc. Visit your doctor annually to rule out any underlying health issues. Also, some medications can cause you to become drowsy or dizzy. Check the warnings on the bottle and if you are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to let your doctor know.
If you are overweight, your weight may be affecting your sleep, and your sleep may be affecting your weight. Not surprisingly, 77 percent of obese adults report some type of sleep problem. Even modest loss can improve your sleep health and improve your stamina on the job.
Remember, conquering workplace fatigue will keep you alert and safe and enable you to be your best you.
Read more stories about managing and building your painting business in the Pintor Pro magazine archive.