Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, working night shifts can be challenging especially for your health. With this schedule, your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits can suffer.
As such, it’s important that you follow a healthy routine that’s easy to follow. We’ve come up with an easy-to-follow guide on how to stay healthy while working during the night.
Get enough sleep
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a day. Failing to do so can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, memory loss, irritability, anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Not only should you get enough hours of sleep, but it’s also important to stick to a fixed sleep schedule. It may be tempting to stay awake when the world is awake. But in order to maintain your physical and mental well-being, stick to a regular sleep schedule, even during your days off.
To avoid disrupted rest, try and recreate a night-time atmosphere in your room. Make sure your room is as dark as possible. Use an eye mask and a pair of earplugs if it tends to get noisy.
Cut down on unhealthy foods
Meals from convenience stores and fast-food chains typically contain extra calories, sugar, saturated fat and salt, so you should stay away from them. Salty and sugary foods are a major cause of weight gain, which is a common problem for night shift workers.
Likewise, you should avoid other refined or processed foods like cakes, donuts and other sweets because it might cause your blood sugar to skyrocket.
Drink plenty of fluids
Proper hydration will maintain your energy level and will make you feel less hungry. Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. For a flavor and nutrient boost, infuse your water with a slice of any citrus fruit.
Have healthy foods readily available
On a busy night shift, eating healthily should always be a top priority. Healthy foods provide the energy and nutrients your body needs to get through a long shift.
Here are just some of the foods you can prepare:
- Soups – They help in warming your body in the cold hours of the morning.
- Low Glycemic Index (GI) foods) – Low GI foods are digested more slowly so they’re good for your blood sugar. Examples are nuts, seeds, cottage cheese, yogurt, vegetable soups, avocado, and other healthy fats.
- Hydrating foods – Aside from lack of sleep, dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fatigue. Several water-based foods include strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini and rockmelon.
Get the vitamins you need
Taking certain vitamins can help protect your health and improve your overall on-the-job performance.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D supplements make up for the lack of sunlight exposure, which is the primary way your body gets this vitamin. This fat-soluble nutrient works with calcium to promote strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
- Iron – Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Lack of which can leave you feeling fatigued. If you have iron-deficiency or anemia, you can take regular or chewable iron supplements.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system. It may also lower the risk of heart diseases, manage high blood pressure, and prevent iron deficiency.
By sticking to a fixed sleep schedule, eating healthy foods, and taking the right vitamins, you can get through the night shift staying healthy.