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October 01, 2017
Farmers are some of the most dedicated workers in the world. After all, you can’t simply call in sick or take a week off for vacation when you own a farm. Your cows are going to need milking like clockwork, and crops need tending or you risk losing the farm—literally. At the same time, farmers also have to adjust their sleep cycle to accommodate their workload. Find out more about farmer sleep schedules and just how the farm life effects, or benefits, their sleep routines.
Speaking of routines, a farmer has one of the strictest sleep routines there is. This is especially the case when dealing with a farm that is home to livestock. Cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, lamas, chickens…all of these animals require constant care and monitoring. In order to provide this most efficiently, a farmer must create a system that involves a very rigorous routine. Otherwise, farmers stand the chance of missing the signs that something is wrong with his animals.
When you are talking about bulls that are worth more than a new car or a prize horse worth more than a small house, then you don’t want to mess around. It could mean the difference between a dead flock of birds or an underfed and malnourished herd of cattle. All of this costs a farmer money, which is the bottom line for working farms. When creating a schedule for feeding and tending to animals, farmers must establish a sleep schedule to accommodate the system. They want to be up before dawn so they can be out of the kitchen and ready to seize that first ray of sunlight.
To find a way to fall asleep quick, farmers often look for advice in the Farmer’s Almanac. This old-fashioned publication released annually discusses everything from planting seasons to horoscopes. It also includes novel advice for helping farmers get better sleep. For example, the Farmer’s Almanac recommends not counting sleep as a farmer, because this can make you stress out even more when worrying about your flock.
While farmers seem to have the best routine for sleep, there is a concern among medical researchers is that farmers aren’t getting enough zzz’s. The Journal of Agromedicine has published a study titled The Association of Sleep Loss and Balance Stability in Farmers. This study includes a very small sample size, but it reveals a common concern among the farming community. When farmers aren’t getting enough sleep they are more likely to slip and fall when on the job. Falls are the biggest cause of fatalities in the workplace according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, so finding this connection is important.
The issue isn’t typically due to an inadequate sleep routine. Instead, there is often the issue of stressors related to farm life. When a farmer is up in the middle of the night with sows giving birth, dealing with a broken fence, or thinking about farm-related issues, it can prevent the farmer from getting enough quality sleep. As a result, the farmer is more likely to have workplace injuries, which is a cause for alarm.
In general, farmers have to get sleep just like everyone else, and in fact, their work routine helps them fall asleep on a schedule. This can make all the difference in improving one’s quality of sleep because it sets their internal clock. For anyone trying to improve their sleeping habits, sleeping when the sun is down is one of the best ways to do this. So make like a farmer and get on a snooze routine that works best with Mother Nature. It’ll do your body a world of good.