Human beings are a diurnal species that means they are meant for being active during the day, and nights are for them to rest. But time differences among different places of the world and certain other reasons have caused people to take to night shifts. Night shifts are not just difficult but also extremely taxing on the body and mind. Studies have proved those night workers are more prone to getting heart issues, glucose intolerance, and digestive and metabolic issues than day workers.
Now, is there a way to steer clear of these health risks? The best way out would be to stop making yourself available for a night shift. If, however, that doesn’t seem like a feasible option, here is what you can do to minimise health risks-
Steps you should take to protect yourself from health issues that might arise because of your night shift job-
Whether you are an employer who has people under him working at night shifts or a night shift worker yourself, the following are a few tips that might help you or your employees lead a healthy life-
- Following a normal day and night pattern of taking food is of the utmost importance.
- Through the 24 hours of a day, you must aim to get at least three satisfying meals.
- Always eat at the beginning and the end of your shift. Try not to munch on anything between 12 am and 6 am.
- Keep your stomach empty prior to one-two hours of falling asleep after the shift’s work.
If you don’t want to avoid waking up because of a growling stomach, you should sleep only after having your morning breakfast.
The types of food-
- If you love tea, try red bush tea, which is loaded with antioxidants. And when it comes to food, you should take a lot of whole foods, lean meat, nuts, eggs, vegetables etc.
- Stay away from empty calories. Avoid high carb rich foods such as white bread, sweets, soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened food items.
- Don’t take iron rich food like red meat at night. This could disturb the liver’s circadian rhythm, which in turn could cause glucose metabolism issues in the body.
What to do outside of work-
- When you are not working, you should try to have a sound sleep. Make your meal times fixed and engage in regular exercise to stay fit.
- As you will be working at night, your exposure to vitamin D would be less. So, get its levels regularly checked, so that it never falls.
- Get regular blood work done. This could help you detect diseases such as diabetes early. Night shift workers are prone to diabetes.
- If you are an employer, you must see to it that shift schedules are designed in such a way that your employees get enough time for sleep, family, exercise and meal preparation.
- The eating area you provide for your employees should be a laid back one where they can relax.
- Eating in a stress-free environment is important for proper digestion of the consumed food.
- Try to make good quality snacking items and whole foods available to your employees.