When working a job that includes shift work, it's important to know when the right time to measure is for you. As "I work shifts, when should I measure?" is a broad question, we have listed several scenarios below to help you figure out when you should measure based on your schedule.
The main rules for measuring are the following:
- Measure at the same time each morning, after the same amount of sleep.
- We allow a measuring window of ± 2 hours in sleep and waking time. If you have slept 2 hours more or less than usual, or wake up 2 hours later or earlier than usual, you should exclude the temperature for that day.
- Always measure right away when you wake up, before any movement or snoozing.
- We recommend adding five temperatures per week.
1. I work the night shift two days a week and the day shift four days a week.
You should measure during the mornings of your day shift, as you most often work the day shift. This will give the most consistent measurements and the most accurate data. If you have a day off, please try to measure at the same time as you would on a day when you work the day shift, to maximize the number of temperatures each week. When working the night shift, we recommend that you continue measuring after your daily rest to keep up the habit but exclude the temperature due to "slept differently."
2. I work only night shifts (4+ days/week):
You should measure in the afternoon after your daily sleep according to your sleep schedule - as this is your "morning" and when you start the day. If you have a day off, you can measure your temperature to keep in the routine, but exclude the temperature due to “slept differently” when you log it in the app.
Alternatively, you can skip measuring on your days off.
If you only work 3 night shifts per week (or less), and are off on all other days of the week, you can instead exclude your temperature when you are on shift, and measure on your days off, as you will be able to log more temperature data this way.
3. I have "On Call" shifts, where my sleep varies during my shift (e.g., doctor, nurses):
This may mean that you cannot measure at all during the day or nights when you are on call, as you may not reach your deep sleep and, therefore, not your resting temperature. On the other days, you should try to measure roughly at the same time (please also refer to scenario 1 for further guidance).
4. I alternate weekly between day and night shifts:
You will need to change the time of measurement every week. You should exclude the temperature on the first day of each new shift week so that your body has a chance to get accustomed to the change in routine. On your days off, please try to measure at the same time as on a working day to maximize the number of temperatures each week.
5. I constantly work different shifts throughout the week:
This may make measuring very difficult, as you will constantly be changing your sleeping schedule. You should try to measure at the same time after roughly the same amount of sleep, so please try and map out the ideal time for this according to your schedule.
As a shift worker, you may experience more temperature fluctuations, which may make it more difficult for the app to confirm ovulation. This means that you may have more red (for NC° Birth Control) and brown (NC° Plan Pregnancy) days, as the algorithm has a high safety requirement for giving a green day. Using LH tests* may help the algorithm pinpoint your ovulation, which can lead to more green days.
If you feel that the scenarios above don’t apply to you, or you would like more guidance about when you should measure, please feel free to send us an email. Make sure to explain your typical work and sleep schedule on a day-to-day basis to help us give you a more detailed answer.
*You can order LH tests in our webshop.
Note: If you are struggling with your measuring routine, know that you now have the option to use Natural Cycles with an Oura Ring. When wearing an Oura Ring, your temperature trends get measured overnight while you sleep. This means that you no longer need to measure with your oral thermometer as soon as you wake up! Learn more here.