How To Work the Night Shift and Balance Your Lifestyle

Photo of a woman on the bed

Working night shifts can take a toll on your health.  Studies have shown that unnatural sleeping cycles make night shift workers more prone to physical diseases and mental disorders.  Some health problems common to night shift workers are obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are also more susceptible to depression and sleep disorders such as insomnia.  Despite these risks, many opt to work night shifts due to the higher salaries offered. Nevertheless, these immediate benefits cannot compensate for the long term strains working night shifts can put on our health.

If you are night shift worker, there are several things you must do to minimize potential health hazards. Read through the tips below to discover some ways on how to do this and maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Establish a regular sleeping schedule. Most night shift workers tend to vary their sleeping patterns based on the activities they do day by day. This habit causes sleep deprivation and disrupts the body's internal clock that governs regular body processes. The mismatch between the body's internal clock and the worker's activities can prevent these processes from taking place, which can lead to serious health problems.

Correct this habit by setting a regular sleeping schedule, even during day-offs. It is best to keep the schedule as close as possible to the natural sleeping pattern and conditions. Try to sleep immediately after your shift. Imitate ideal sleeping conditions by darkening your room and minimizing daytime noises.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Unnatural sleeping habits impact hormones that govern appetite. You need to be extra careful with what you eat to keep blood and sugar levels normal. Plan ahead and prepare healthy meals at home. Make sure that you the meals contain the necessary nutrients that the body needs. It is also wise to augment your diet with a set of multivitamins capsules and detoxifying drinks.

Avoid drinking too much caffeine. Keep your body hydrated by drinking eight to twelve glasses of water everyday.

Allot time for rest and relaxation. Depression is a very common disorder among night shift workers. Prevent this by exerting effort to spend time with family and friends. Take time to do the activities you enjoy to relieve stress. Join a club or enter an instructional class to learn something new. Having a project outside of work can be a good preventive measure to keep depression at bay.

Exercise regularly. Set-up an exercise routine and stick to it. Exercising improves physical, emotional and mental health. Doing physical activities are scientifically proven to increase energy levels and effect cheerfulness. It is wise to take up an activity that allows you to interact with others. Most night shift workers get depressed due to a lack of social interaction, so inserting every opportunity to relate with other people is crucial to balance your lifestyle.  

While the tolerance for working graveyard shifts vary from person to person, the effects on one's health eventually appears. Whether you are a morning or a night person, the single most important key in surviving working night shifts is to keep your body healthy.


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