Everyone doesn’t follow the same work shifts. Ideally one should work during the day and sleep at night but then there are people working in night shifts and it seems dietary advice are not much talked about for people following night shifts.
It is easy to take care of health for people working according to the biological clock but not easy enough for those who are working at night and sleeping during the day. Such people find it harder to reduce weight and have more tendency in gaining more.
Night workers must choose a healthy diet to maintain a healthy BMI and keep away the health risks associated with sleeping during the day and working at night. In this article we shall discuss the healthy eating tips for night shift workers.
Those who have a roaster shift usually experience trouble in falling asleep, have frequent digestive problems and face the problems related to weight gain and weight loss. All these problems come with one and only solution of eating good and healthy.
What is night shift work
The traditional working hours are 7 am to 6 pm and the working hours beyond the given range is called night shift work. Night shift work and roster shifts have various drawbacks and sleep problems and shift disorder are most common among many.
How working in night shifts can affect your health
Working against the biological clock will off course come with consequences and the most common being stress and gaining excess weight. Weight gain we all know brings with itself various health risks. Shift disorder makes people vulnerable to digestive disorders, heart diseases etc. They are more dependent on alcohol and other sleep-inducing medicines for better sleep and they are more vulnerable to develop poor eating habits.
Other than health risks the night shift workers are at higher risk to get involved in accidents due to fatigue and impaired concentration.
So, it is very important to pay attention to the choice of food you make.
Impact of shift work on metabolism
Our body is designed to work in day and sleep at night as during night the body repairs itself and restores the energy for the next day. While working in night shift the blood sugar is regulated in a different manner due to metabolic defects and so this might be the reason for glucose intolerance in night shift workers.
Weight gain prevalence in night shift workers
On the basis of studies people who work at night are found to have higher BMI when compared to those working in day.
There are many people who work during night and for people falling under this category must pay special attention to the food they consume. You must make sure to add a variety of foods in your meal as a single food can never provide you the essential nutrients. Eating foods rich in fats is not easy to get digested and hence can be a cause of gastrointestinal problems in the long run. One must also avoid consumption of tea and coffee during night and avoid eating large meals at breakfast.
Following the correct eating pattern can make you more productive in your work and daily activities. Prefer to have healthy snacks and healthy drinks.
How can you make your eating habits healthy
Cultivating following habits helps to prevent the side effects of working in the night hours. To balance you work and diet following tips are recommended-
1.Carry your tiffin- it helps you to make a healthy choice and pick the food that is right for your body. You can add fresh fruits and vegetables and high protein foods that can be eaten as snacks and meals.
2.Do not eat foods that are deep fried and high in fat as such foods can cause indigestion.
3.Eat something light before going to sleep as this will help you get a sound sleep. It is not easy to get a good sleep if you are hungry or too full.
4.Reduce the caffeine intake as it disturbs the sleep and makes your stomach upset.
5.Keep yourself hydrated with water. It will keep you alert while working at night.
6.Do not eat chocolates or sugar added drinks as these will make you lethargic later. Instead a snack that is high in protein such as nuts, berries etc is good to keep you energetic.
7.Before leaving for night shift work always eat your meal. It will prevent you from unnecessary eating during work and will help in maintaining weight. Foods such as vegetables and chickpea curry with chapatis, vegetable curry with brown rice, porridge with nuts and dried fruits etc.
8.Avoid sitting continuously in one place rather take small breaks and take a walk or stretch your body to keep yourself active at work.
9.Cut the calories in your food as according to the studies a person burns less fat while sleeping at day than night.
10.Choose foods such as beans, sprouts, nuts, boiled eggs, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables, green salads, cottage cheese etc.
11.Consume antioxidant rich foods such as green tea, beans, cabbage etc protects your cells from damage.
After the shift is over it is not easy to get a proper sleep. Always have breakfast that is light and nutritious before you go to sleep. Avoid alcohol and relax by taking a hot water shower and it is highly recommended to avoid phones, laptops and televisions as all these gadgets keep your sleep at bay. Other tips for night shift workers include-
Get yourself couple of good hours of sleep
Follow a fixed routine
Detach yourself from all the gadgets before going to bed
Keep enough of nutritious food in your kitchen to prevent weight gain
Resist yourself against unhealthy temptation
Update yourself with knowledge of food your body needs
The eating pattern is as important as knowing the choice of food to be made. It is advised to eat small portions of meal during the shift rather than a single heavy meal. Eating slowly is a key to maintain a healthy digestive system hence chewing the food properly enhances the nutrient absorption.
Night shift work impacts both physical and mental health. Some people enjoy the night shift and some have no choice to change it. The associated health risks such as digestive problems, sleep disorder and low immune system can be prevented through healthy eating habits. Whatever the condition may be, taking care of your health is the utmost concern especially when you are working in shifts.