You can stay healthy even if you work night shifts
Night shifts changes your body | A tolerable work rhythm | Schedule rest during seasonal periods and for long term success | Gradual abosrption of health supplements | Reduced 4-day work week | Work-life balance | Mental health breaks
Working night shifts can be challenging for anyone. Even though the days grow long, that does not mean the challenges also end there. Working night shifts means you will spend time at your workplace when everyone has gone home. This can be awkward at times. But, there are ways you can stay healthy even if you work night shifts.
Working night shifts can impact different people in different ways. For some people, working night shifts is not a big deal at all and they handle it fine. Others may struggle with sleeping at night or their health may start to deteriorate as well. Working night shifts can be hard on one’s psyche as well because everything starts to look more grey than usual. If you work night shifts or deal with this on a regular basis, here are some insights. These could be an eye-opener into how working night shifts may have an effect on your health.
Night shifts changes your body clock and puts stress on your body.
Although it may feel like you are working for 16 hours a day, the truth is that your body only gets about 4 hours of deep sleep. And if you invert day with night, your health worsens. Humans are built to sleep when it is dark and be active when it is bright. Swapping schedules confuses your body mechanism. Internally your body clock is set to get those 4 precious hours of sleep at night. So your body is programmed to prepare to sleep when the sky turns dark. But when you work night shifts, your body cannot rest while you are working. Thus, working at night strains your body.
This can greatly impact your health as well as your mood and cognitive function.
The shift work schedule is often associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other mental health conditions. Research also suggests that people who work night shifts may be more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease than those who do not work night shifts.
Harm from spoiling your biological body clock can be reversed. However, it takes time and a whole lot of effort.
Create a work rhythm that your body can physically tolerate. Not everyone works better at night, some are day people.
If you are a night person, try to create a work rhythm that is not too taxing on your body. You want to work on days where your body and mind can keep up with the schedule assigned.
Family commitments can sometimes clash with overnight shifts and ruin work rhythm. Picking up a kid from daycare or a doctor's visit during the day are some examples of family activities. These activities could be mandatory appointments or timings you cannot easily reschedule. This means that having to fetch your parents at 10:00 AM means losing precious sleep. After pulling off an overnight shift you are reasonably "shacked out". Having to cope with the tiredness and still go for these activities isn't easy. It breaks the pace of your work-sleep cycle, which can be hard to get back into sometimes.
Schedule rest during rush and seasonal periods. Breaks are key for long-term success.
Working the night shift can be hard on your health. If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid working during peak or seasonal periods. There are some ways to keep yourself happy and healthy while also maintaining a successful profession. One of these is scheduling adequate breaks during the day, which will ensure that your mental health is taken care of and you have time to rejuvenate.
Working with an organization that understands the importance of rest is essential for long-term success if you are dealing with this on a regular basis. In addition, try changing up your routine by switching up your work days so that you get more sleep and less stress throughout the week.
Chew on health supplements while on night shift. Gradual absorption on nutrients over the whole day.
If you work night shifts, it is important to be careful with what you eat. One way of making sure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs is to take supplements. Choose a good supplement brand that has a lot of research and support behind it. You can also try drinking plenty of water and taking vitamins like calcium or multivitamins. Drinking water will help hydrate your body while taking vitamins will provide an extra boost in nutrients. The gradual absorption provides a more sustained release of nutrients throughout the day as opposed to taking them all at once. Another option for those who work night shifts is to take melatonin supplements or sleeping pills before bedtime in order to sleep better during the night shift.
Reduce intensity with a 4-day workweek instead of a 6-day week. Reduce hours if work becomes unbearable.
Some people may struggle with the intensity of working a full-time job. You could choose to work less hours or change your schedule so you can work a 4-day week instead of a 6-day week. This will reduce the intensity and make it easier to cope with the stress that comes with this type of lifestyle.
Smashing work goals may not be as important as maintaining work-life balance. Have a life after work.
Working night shifts can be a challenge, but it is manageable. However, you need to remember that health and happiness is more important than achieving work goals. One of the best ways to maintain good health while working night shifts is to have a life outside of work. This means creating a balance between work and life so that you can enjoy your time off as well. Your mental health will benefit from this type of balance because you will also be able to take care of yourself better. So, if you're struggling with feeling burnt out at work or not having enough time for your loved ones, then make sure that you add some activities outside of work into your day-to-day life in order to stay healthy.
Take occasional weeks off to recharge your soul and mental health. A break can give you a fresh start to push harder at work.
Take a break for a week to get out of the office and relax. You might even consider taking a vacation to do something fun. Staying hydrated is important, especially if you are working night shifts. Make sure you have lots of water when you are out in the field during the day or before bedtime, whatever works best for you. Sleep more, drink less caffeine, and limit your sugar intake if you need help with sleep-related issues. Keep a journal of your struggles to remind yourself that others deal with this too.
The many downsides to well-being when taking on regular night shifts.
According to a study conducted in 2014, “Night-shift work is associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease.” The quality of sleep can be greatly impacted by working night shifts. When you work night shifts, your body is not getting the time it needs to rest and recover. The long days also give you less opportunity to engage in physical activity that can improve your health. This means that you are more prone to gaining weight or becoming overweight because you are not getting enough exercise. Your heart rate may also rise as a result of the lack of sleep and physical activity. You may find yourself feeling tired all day or struggle with having enough energy during your day. Working night shifts can also cause sleep apnea or other sleeping disorders which can lead to even worse health issues down the line.
Make internal swaps with younger colleagues. Don't get forced into night shifts that harms your health.
If you are forced into working night shifts, try to make swaps with your younger colleagues. In order to stay healthy and not experience the negative effects of night shifts alone, you should make swaps with people who have a better work-life balance. Younger workers have the vigour and energy to pull an all-nighter. They are also less likely to have family obligations. No kids or elderly parents. No dependants who rely on their presence at night.
If you cannot find someone internally to swap with, consider hiring outside contractors. Sometimes outsourcing your own work is possible. You can then still keep a fraction of the profit. This is similar to arbitrage in stock trading and referral schemes for new sign ups. These contractors can offer the same amount of work as a full-time employee while still taking care of themselves. Make your problems theirs.
To increase your health during night shifts, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol at all costs. Instead, look for ways to incorporate exercise and rest during night shifts. You should aim for a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night during your shift, which is about one hour less than what you would need if it was daytime hours. So, aim for about 7 hours sleep per night (3 hours before your shift starts and 4 hours after it ends).
Do pre-dinner exercise and gym sessions before having actual meals. Sweat, before rewarding yourself with a happy stomach.
Workouts before meals or a break from work can be a great way to stay healthy even if you work the night shift. Some people suggest that you should do exercise, such as running or walking. The best time for such light or brisk exercise is before dinner. Pre-dinner and pre-night-shift exercise is best so that when it comes time to eat, your stomach will already be empty.
Following the sequence of work out, then eat and finally work, your body is the best. Your body will have the time to digest and restore muscle damage (from exercise) during your chill time during your shift.
Even if you do not have time for workouts before dinner, try stationary execrises. Squats or push ups need little space and still can rack up heat. You don't need full 20 minute runs or gym equipments like dumbells to call it exercise. As long as you get your heart pumping, it is exercise.
Cut supper after dark to stay fit. Fats build up in lazy and stationary people who just eat without exercise.
When you do not exercise after eating, your body will use the fat stores to fuel the energy it needs. But if your shift doesn't demand for much energy, then your supper is stored as fat. Then, you literally become what you eat. Fat.
Ways to repay sleep debt owed without getting caught snoozing on shift.
If you work night shifts, you know that it is difficult to sleep. It may seem like a common occurrence for the night shift workers to catch some zzz’s during their shift. This can be a problem if your co-workers notice. Some ways you can make sure you don’t get caught snoozing on shift are:
- Take short breaks during your shift.
- Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods such as broth and dark chocolate.
- Listen to music that is relaxing and helps you sleep while at work. For example, classical music or anything with an island beat would be perfect for this purpose.
- Keep things well lit in the office so it doesn’t feel too dark or spooky when working late at night. Try turning off all the lights except one near your desk or chair where you will sit throughout the day (and do not forget about your phone!).
- Do not close up for a break before everyone else has finished their shift! This means that if someone needs assistance, they should not go home before everybody else does because there will be nobody left on site to help them out when they need assistance