The working shift is not only the day shift but a fairly large number of people go to work at night. According to experts, more than 3 million Britons go to work during the night shift. And night work is only gaining momentum. Every year on the website aggregator Jooble, more and more jobs involve working hours at night.
At the same time, it is worth noting that such a schedule cannot be called healthy. These people often need help to create and maintain a healthy routine. With all the positive properties of the presented schedule, many find it difficult to create an optimal sleep and wakefulness schedule, fitting in nutrition and exercise and time for themselves, family and other matters.
With the help of our article, everyone can figure out how to stay healthy while working at night. We have put together some effective tips on how to set up a schedule and get your life in this kind of work mode.
Why it’s so important to take care of your health when working night shifts
The human body is at the mercy of the circadian rhythm-the very process responsible for when we need to be active and when we need to rest. The clearest example related to the light of circadian rhythm is sleeping at night and being awake during the day. In simple terms, this is the biological clock. The circadian rhythm allows us to plan our day and night. Our digestive system, heart rate and body temperature depend on it.
The work schedule of quite a lot of people is that they go to work during the daylight hours when our body is naturally ready for activity. While night shifts categorically go against our natural biological clock and can negatively affect our health. Working at night offers many advantages (increased salary, the opportunity to do your business during the day, etc.). Still, at the same time, such a schedule can cause certain inconveniences, which are very problematic to cope with.
Every employee who is engaged in their direct duties at night should take certain steps that will allow them to preserve their health and get rid of many potential problems associated with working at night. If you build your schedule incorrectly and do not give your body enough rest, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and mental disorders. That said, by taking the right steps and using professional advice, night shift workers can live quite a healthy life and enjoy such a schedule at their pleasure.
How to stay healthy during the night shift: a collection of 5 effective practical tips
If you have been working the night shift for a long time and feel that you have become seriously tired or have to go to the workplace at night, then you should read a few tips on keeping your health with such a schedule. The experts at job aggregator Jooble have created an entire guide with five of the most effective tips.
No. 1: Adjust your diet and avoid dehydration
Quite several night shift workers develop a detrimental habit: constantly chewing something to stay awake. Such snacks often constitute fast food – this food can be found at any time of the day. Of course, this can provoke the fact that the metabolism will be disturbed, and in the future, the person may develop diabetes or heart disease.
To stay healthy, it is worth preparing a meal in advance. It is worth adhering to a simple rule – the night shift worker should have three full meals, as well as during the day. At the same time, the diet should be a lot of protein and green leafy vegetables.
Additionally, it is necessary to take care of healthy snacks, which you can snack, in the form of energy bars without sugar but with a lot of protein so that the energy is enough for a long.
It would be best if you also remembered to consume enough water. At the same time, it is worth drinking pure water, not soda, which contains quite a lot of sugar, which is harmful to health. The optimum is to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily, so your body gets proper hydration.
No. 2: Watch your work and sleep schedule
Sleep is nature’s way of restoring vitality and clearing your mind after a busy work shift. At the same time, a major problem with night workers is that they try to sleep during the daytime when family members or friends have other important things to do that the worker must also participate in after the night shift.
You can’t deny yourself sleep. Be sure to focus on why you should stick to your rest schedule. If you do not give your body a rest, you will soon face serious health problems. A person needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night to rest properly.
In addition, workers often have difficulty falling asleep. In this situation, it is worth worrying about creating the right atmosphere for rest – darken the room with thick curtains, use earplugs, and sleep on a spread-out bed with a comfortable pillow and a blanket.
You can also take a relaxing bath before bed, don’t sit on the phone before going to sleep, and use an eye mask. Considering that the night shift worker is awake against his natural circadian rhythm, it is very important to create a clear and correct daily routine, which is worth following to maintain your health.
Distribute the 24 hours of the day so that a person has time for rest, self-care, meals, communication with other family members or friends, and household tasks such as housework and shopping.
No. 3: Pay proper attention to exercise during the night shift
You must take care of your physical activity to keep yourself healthy while working the night shift. Such a schedule often provokes overweight, heart disease and diabetes. Minimize such risks with regular exercise. You can go to the gym or do physical activity at home.
Everyone can choose a suitable training regimen for themselves. It is best to do strength training and cardio. The main thing is regularity. You must always exercise, even if the workout takes only 10 minutes a day.
No. 4: Control your caffeine and sugar intake
Often night shift workers consume a lot of caffeine and sugar to keep themselves toned during the dark hours of the day when energy reserves are significantly reduced. Many doctors point out the benefits of caffeine – it has a positive effect on the physical and mental state. The main condition is that caffeine should be consumed in a SMALL amount.
At the same time, a large amount of sugar has a catastrophic effect on our well-being: it negatively affects the energy reserve and insulin production during the day in the body. Caffeine in huge doses provokes increased fatigue, negatively affects the quality of sleep and provokes long-term disorders in the body. It is best to replace caffeine and sugar with snacks made from whole foods and drink plenty of water.
No. 5: Take sunbaths or add vitamin D supplementation to your diet
If a person works at night and rests during the day, they may have significant problems with the amount of vitamin D in the body. This particular trace element is responsible for healthy muscle tissue and bones. It is absorbed outdoors in the sun and also in green leafy vegetables.
Suppose you have a vitamin D deficiency in your body. In that case, you may find that your bones will become less strong, osteoporosis will appear, and you may experience incredible bone pain (osteomalacia). Getting the necessary dose of vitamin D will allow for regular sunbathing. Also, if a person does not get enough daylight, they can start taking supplements with high vitamin D concentrations.
Sleep occupies one of the most important places in our lives, on par with nutrition. Every worker should remember that our body needs rest. The more we exhaust ourselves, the more rapidly the quality of our work declines. That is particularly true for those who go to work at night. To maintain your health, you should plan your schedule wisely and stick to certain recommendations of experts.
Charlie Morgan is an experienced specialist in the treatment of sleep disorders. Currently, he is actively treating patients with certain difficulties with circadian rhythms and suffers from disturbances in the schedule of waking and rest. The specialist has over 12 years of practice in treating thousands of patients. In addition to practicing medicine, Charlie Morgan is involved in research and writing scientific articles.