Working night shift is many times unavoidable. Depending on the profession and financial needs people work through night shifts in many jobs.Manufacturing companies, software companies, hospitals have 24 hours schedules. Some companies and hospitals rotate the shifts. However, working from evening to morning shift has lot of impact on health and happiness. Night work leads to poor decision-making, which means we do not make good decisions on what to eat. This influences our health and puts us at risk for chronic conditions. An irregular sleep schedule affects a variety of important things- including antioxidant activity, immune system, vessels can be impacted and blood pressure changes. Here are few healthy tips for people who take up night job or work during night hour schedules.
Do not forget to exercise:
After getting some rest in the morning hours do not forget to go for walk or visit gym. Take time to exercise at least 30-45 minutes every day. During night shift, most employees do not have luxury of stepping out during break. They cannot go for walk or sit out to get some fresh air. If the company has a gym facility then, use the gym and work out during the break hours. Try to take walks inside the building -walk up and down stairs, or stretch before, after your shift, or during your breaks. If not, do not forget to workout morning after your rest to keep yourself energetic. This way body will not feel tired and lethargic.
Eat good food:
People who sleep less and have disturbed sleep have a tendency to eat junk food. Before going to work finish your early dinner. Because you will be awake at night you might feel hungry. Keep some fibrous, protein rich food for yourself at your desk.
• Eat high protein foods (vegetables, peanut butter on crackers, fruit, etc) to keep you alert. If you simply must eat some sweets, which tend to make you sleepy, do so at the end of your shift.
• Stock your kitchen with easy-to-eat raw vegetables and hummus, fruits, or a container of raw almonds and raisins so that when you are tired but hungry, you make healthy food choices.
• Eat less fatty and carbohydrate foods. Do not forget to drink water and light coffee. Limit caffeine intake four to five hours before the end of your shift. It will help your body wind down for home and relaxation. Keep some light healthy snacks and dark chocolates with you.
• When you sit in front of computer for long hours your facial muscle will be constantly looking at the screen and also activities of facial muscle will be less. Have little amount of snacks in between to keep your facial muscle active.
• Drink plenty of water throughout your shift. Dehydration can cause cramps and headaches, which can make your shift very unpleasant.
After your shift, once you reach home freshen up, eat good breakfast and sleep for 6-7 hours. Sleep is the best gift that you can give it to your body. Homework, cleaning and other works can wait. If you take rest then your body will feel energetic and can will have strength to focus on other activities. If it is not possible to sleep at a stretch, divide your sleep between morning and afternoon. Darken bedroom or wear comfortable eyeshade for getting consolidated sleep.
Some people take medicines to relax and to get sleep. Avoid the overuse of sleep aids. Sure, they can be a temporary solution, but in the long run they could cover up a larger problem. Avoid prolonged use of sleeping pills and other sedatives, which interfere with normal sleep patterns. Beware of cold and allergy medications, which have sleep-related side effects. Do not make it a habit to take sleeping pills and other relaxing medications to get back to normalcy. This will only increase your problem related to health.
Listen to music:
Music helps to break up the monotony of a long shift. If your company allows carry your own music collections with you and play it softly. Use fast-paced sounds to pump you up when you are dragging towards the end of the shift. Music perks up easily and keeps you awake during your shift.
Let your family & friends know about your work:
Talk to your family, discuss with your friends about your work and the demands of your job. This will help you to relax as you lent it out your worries and the feeling of someone is there to listen to your complexity of work. This will help people understand why you are off from social events or from family gatherings, if any. They will also help you out as much as possible at home to complete household works and will cooperate to get you good morning hours.
In conclusion, work involving long hours or abnormal night-day schedules has been in existence from long time. There is evidence to suggest that such schedules are here to stay, for one reason or another. The main physiological consequence of such shift schedules is disruption of circadian rhythm-, which can have a deleterious effect on performance, sleep patterns, accident rates, mental health, and cardiovascular mortality. Not all gifted with what they want. Sometimes it is our responsibility to keep ourselves healthy and happy with the given situation. If your job demands you to work during various shift then, plan and prepare yourselves for the situation.