Working on Night Shift? Here’s How You Can Stay Healthy
Several industries these days have normalized night shift schedules. Businesses that operate in this kind of work setup task their workers to work on irregular shifts, sometimes for long hours. This often results in health problems for employees. In general, working the night shift cannot only interfere with your natural sleeping patterns but also causes worse issues.
According to several studies, working the night shift has been found to increase the risks of heart attack, breast cancer, depression, and workplace injuries. Others even suffer from gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers and diarrhea, and changes in metabolism. Are you working the night shift and struggling to live more healthily? Just follow our tips listed below.
This is quite obvious, but getting restful sleep is an actual problem for many night shift workers. As a matter of fact, some even suffer from sleep deprivation and develop a sleep disorder due to their irregular working hours. Take note that our body isn’t designed to sleep during the day surrounded by daytime distractions. With that in mind, you should create a nighttime atmosphere in your space or room. The darker, the better. Make sure to also remove distractions like your phone or gadgets. Use earplugs or an eye mask as well
Light triggers greatly impact our wake and sleep cycles, so it’s necessary that you control your exposure to them. For instance, you tend to feel drowsy when it gets dark, while you feel awake when the sunshine is high. Artificial light also works in the same way. If you are working the night shift, you can expose yourself to bright light to put your body in an alert state. You can use a bright desk lamp or regular overhead fixtures. When it’s time for sleep, reduce your light exposure. You can use drapes, curtains, or blackout blinds to block the sunlight from coming into your room.
Also, avoid using your phone or watching TV before going to bed, as the light they emit can keep your body and mind active. Another bonus trick is to wear sunglasses on your way home. According to one study, night shift workers who wear sunglasses on their way home tend to sleep more quickly and longer, as they suppress their light exposure.
One of the best ways to treat yourself at home is to create a DIY spa experience. Grab some clean washcloths, soft towels, and a cozy robe to start your at-home spa day. It’s best to personalize your spa day based on how you like to pamper yourself. If you’re a bath lover, use an all-natural soap for a dreamy soak and an organic shampoo for hair loss and dandruff for a soothing hair care session. If you’re a fan of facial treatments, You can create a DIY mask, apply it, and then write in your journal or read a book before showering. You can also have a steamy hot bath with some bath salts to soothe your aching muscles.
When working the night shift, another thing to watch out for is your diet. According to several studies, those working on the night shift have a higher risk of becoming obese or overweight because of the disruption in body clock and unhealthy diet. Prevent that from happening by planning healthy meals. You can consider using the same eating pattern you used to follow before.
Avoid foods that are hard to digest, such as processed meals or spicy and fried ones. Instead, opt for vegetables, fruits, bread, pasta, and other options that are much easier to digest. If you typically feel drowsy after having a healthy meal, you can avoid it by eating frequent healthy and light snacks. Lastly, don’t forget to keep your body hydrated.
While drinking coffee might seem to help you stay awake at night, it’s not actually good for your health. Improper doses of caffeine can actually lead to muscle shakes and gastrointestinal upsets. Research suggests that instead of taking a huge dose of coffee, consume a lower yet more frequent dose. This can lead to fewer accidental naps and enhanced wakefulness. Also, take note that it’s best not to consume caffeine six hours before going to bed so you can sleep faster.
Fighting off the effects of an irregular working schedule can be challenging at first. Transition slowly and start incorporating more healthy habits into your daily life. If you’re still finding it difficult to help your body and mind adjust to this work setup, don’t think twice about seeking help from your loved ones or healthcare professionals.