6 Healthy Habits When Working the Night Shift

Working the night shift could lead to a couple of unhealthy practices. First of all, sleeping during the day messes up your body clock, and bingeing at night can lead to obesity and heart ailments. Make sure to keep your health and wellness in check by doing these healthy habits:

Night Shift

Image by Ben Raynal via Flickr Creative Commons

1. Replace the bulk of your carbs with protein

Night Shift Dilemma:

Loading on carbohydrates can make you sleepy throughout your shift.

Fix-it:

Filling up with carbohydrates is like injecting your body with serotonin and tryptophan, according to LiveStrong.com. Carbs trigger the brain to produce serotonin, a chemical for calming while transporting more tryptophan to your brain. This combination lulls you to sleep.

Load up on protein-rich food, such as chicken and tuna, to increase your alertness at work. Protein-rich foods slows down the rate of blood sugar decline and fights sleepiness.

Image from Harry Potter via Giphy

Image from Harry Potter via Giphy

2. Stick to a regular sleep pattern

Night Shift Dilemma:

Changing sleeping pattern can lead to shift work sleep disorder.

Fix-it:

Schedule a designated time for your sleep. Make your room as dark as possible to train your brain to go into snooze mode. You might also want to establish bedtime rituals, such as applying chamomile lotion and listening to slow music—the aroma of the lotion and the relaxing beat will tell your brain that it’s time to hit the sack.  And lastly, put your gadgets on silent mode.

Unstable sleeping hour

GIF from Giphy

3. Expose yourself to natural light

Night Shift Dilemma:

Lack of exposure to natural sunlight can deny you daily dose of Vitamin D.

Fix-it:

Vitamin D is important for bone health, and it also protects the body from sickness and depression. Whenever possible, go out in the morning and get your five-minute dose of natural Vitamin D. You can also include foods rich in Vitamin D in your diet, such as eggs, liver, and fatty fish. Vitamin D supplements may also be helpful, but better consult your doctor first before taking anything.

Natural Light

GIF from Giphy

4. Exercise regularly

Night Shift Dilemma:

Working the night shift can disrupt your physical routine.

Fix-it:

Exercise keeps the mind awake during the graveyard shift. Either do brisk walking and jogging after the shift or do an 11-minute power workout after waking up. Jumping until you feel your heart pump will rev up your day.

physical routine

GIF from Giphy

5. Limit your caffeine intake

Night Shift Dilemma:

Drinking too much coffee prevents sleep.

Fix-it:

Some graveyard shift workers load up on coffee to increase alertness. The aftereffects of caffeine, however, may compromise the quality of your sleep. Cut down your coffee intake and request for a timed evening nap instead to yield better results when it comes to productivity and alertness.

Too much coffee

Image from Daria via Giphy

6. Limit your alcohol intake

Night Shift Dilemma:

Too much alcohol can impair sleeping habits.

Fix-it:

Pass up on some rounds of alcohol. Alcohol may be a sleep inducer, but it can distort REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep (when your body enters a state of dreaming) and affects the restfulness of the body. Alcohol tends to distort sleeping patterns and can even prevent the body from going through all the essential sleep stages.

Too much alcohol

Image from Vampire Diaries via Giphy

These are the things I found while navigating the night shift myself.  Have more tips to share to your fellow night shifters? Leave a comment below.

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