Working a night shift is not the most convenient job in the world. It requires commitment, strength, sacrifice, and determination. Most of us do it because it’s compatible with our routine or gives us a chance to earn extra money. You also have fewer distractions and less work to manage.
However, where there are benefits of the night shift, there are likewise its disadvantages. Night shift workers are prone to more health issues, such as their work schedule interfering with their sleep pattern causing insomnia and fatigue. It can also lead to various physical and mental health problems. You can also feel a lack of motivation and develop dysfunctional eating habits that can lead to unwanted weight gain.
For some of us, night shifts work very well, as many are night owls. In addition, in the United States of America, around nine million Americans, or 6% of them, work a night shift. The state of Nevada has the highest rate of night shift workers.
Moreover, several careers offer night shifts, such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and food servers. Many health practitioners work night shifts, allowing them to pursue higher studies comfortably. In particular, nurses aspiring to higher qualifications find night shifts easier as they have to manage fewer patients and follow fewer procedures. Hence, many opt for an online nursing master’s degree as it makes it easier to juggle their careers and studies. Opting for an online nursing masters program can help nurses climb up the ladder professionally and open up excellent opportunities.
Yet no matter how beneficial night shifts can be for our careers, they undeniably come with many health issues. Thus, it is necessary to avoid them, and with the following tips, you can stay healthy while working your night shift.
Keeping a healthy eating routine is difficult when you work nights. One can fall victim to snacking and binge eating while trying to stay awake to work. Eating sugary items and other junk food might give you instant energy, but that energy is not sustainable and declines immediately.
Moreover, eating fast foods without proper nutrition can contribute to digestion issues such as diarrhea and constipation, along with bacterial gastroenteritis. It can also lead to obesity.
Moreover, not eating a nutritious diet not only harms us physically but mentally as well. A poor diet can fatigue, weaken decision-making skills, and exacerbate anxiety and stress. A diet lacking in nutrition can also cause mood swings and brain fog.
Hence, you must create a routine you can maintain throughout the day and eat a nutritious diet. First, start by planning your meal for the day. Then, you can fix your meals according to your schedule, so you are fully nourished during your night shift. Moreover, you should at least be eating three proper meals a day and can add moderate healthy snacks in between them.
Furthermore, after making an eating routine, start by switching from calorie-dense food to nutrient-dense food. Switch your processed carbohydrates for whole-grain ones such as brown rice and oats. You can add more protein to your diet, such as fish and legumes. Vegetables are a vital part of a nutritious diet; hence you should have them with every meal. If you like snacking, switch your junk food for fresh fruits, nuts, and healthier sweet options like dark chocolate.
Some people find it easier to concentrate at night, while others have difficulty staying awake. Many of us can suffer fatigue and sleep deprivation when working night shifts. That is because humans are wired to sleep at night, and working at night is contrary to that. Hence many of us can have difficulty focusing and concentrating at work.
Getting sufficient sleep is essential as it improves immunity, boosts metabolism, and lowers the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases. It also enhances cognitive functions, which are vital for any job.
There are many ways to get enough sleep. For example, planning a sleeping routine around your working schedule is vital to ensuring enough sleep before your night shift. Furthermore, many of us survive night shifts by increasing our caffeine intake. It might help us get through the shift but will make it difficult to doze off when it’s time for us to sleep. Hence, managing caffeine intake is necessary. Lastly, avoid screen time and smoking before bed, as both affect melatonin levels in our bodies, making it difficult for us to fall asleep.
Keep yourself hydrated
Hydration is necessary for the human body to function well. Many who work the night shift have busy routines and have other responsibilities throughout the day. Hence, amid this hustle and bustle, we tend to forget to hydrate ourselves. Dehydration has undesirable effects, such as a lack of energy and stamina. In addition, it may cause muscle cramps and headaches, significantly affecting your work performance.
Thus, by managing your liquid intake, you can maintain your health and performance at work. A few tips can help you manage hydration, such as avoiding sugary or caffeinated drinks like sodas and coffee and replacing them with good old-fashioned water. Moreover, always keep a water bottle beside you or on your desk. In addition, make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Lastly, you can also have fresh juices as they can prevent headaches.
Being active on a night shift can be challenging, as finding the time for physical activity can be tough. Lack of exercise, especially if you have a night shift that requires a desk job, can raise many health concerns, such as body pains, lower cognitive functions, and cause mood swings. In addition, it can further cause unwanted weight gain, which can also lead to obesity as well.
Therefore, taking time for yourself and working on your health is necessary. Furthermore, working out releases hormones like endorphins that enhance mood and make us feel motivated, which can result in better performance at work. Likewise, there are many ways you can add physical activity to your routine. For example, take a walk or jog before work. Walking or running for fifteen to thirty minutes is ideal.
You can incorporate yoga into your life as it is an excellent way to relieve stress and soothe the mind. Cardio is also a great way to stay fit; try light cardio exercises to increase stamina without tiring you. Lastly, try not to work out after your shift, as it can disrupt sleep.
Many of us work night shifts for various reasons. It sometimes works with our daily routine, gives better pay, or offers more manageable work. There’s no denying how night shifts can benefit us, especially if we’re pursuing higher education. However, at the same time, it can significantly impact our health physically and mentally. Therefore, you must learn to sustain your health to live a better life and perform better at work.
Moreover, there are many simple habits through which you can take care of your health. Ensure you get enough sleep, as lack of rest can affect your life and performance at work. Another tip that can help you maintain health is regularly working out and eating well. Similarly, hydration is key to health and prevents countless health issues. Thus, simple habits can optimize your health and improve your well-being.