Best Health Tips To Survive Night Shifts
Not everyone is blessed with a 9 to 5 job. Many people these days are doing night shifts or rotational shifts. Such people face a lot of challenges. If you are one among them then read on!
Circadian rhythms get affected
While doing night shifts you force yourself to sleep against the clock. The human body has an internal clock in the brain that produces circadian rhythms. These act like messages that help in regulating several functions of the body like alertness, sleepiness, hunger, body temperature and hormone levels. The body clock signals when one should wake up or fall asleep. In adults, the level of sleepiness is at peak from midnight to 7 am. To work at night one has to fight the body’s natural rhythms in order to stay awake and then try to sleep during the day when your body is alert. Total confusion! This can lead to insomnia.
So, having said that working in shifts is bad business, you are doing it because it is your job. Instead of discussing the ill-effects let us find ways to make you feel comfortable.
Tips To Make You Feel Comfortable With Night Shifts
Taking a nap
Prior to reporting for a night duty take a nap of about ninety minutes. It will help in making you feel alert on the job and more productive. Napping during breaks will improve your performance but is not allowed everywhere, you need to ask your employer or else there are chances of losing the job 😛
Most night shift workers eat poorly and that too at odd times and this makes stomach problems common. You need to eat three evenly spaced meals during the day. Don’t have a hearty meal just within 3 hours of bedtime. Same goes for alcohol. Avoid fast foods and have a balanced diet that has fruits and veggies along with cereals.
Those of you who work at night should make it a point to sleep at the same time each week. This means that even when you are off you shouldn’t change your sleeping schedule. This way the quality of sleep will improve. Changing sleep schedules can disrupt your body clock.
Consuming stimulants at work can help you stay alert and it will reduce the feeling of sleepiness. Caffeine is the most common stimulant. So do have a cup of coffee during breaks. But make it a point to avoid any form of caffeine 4 hours before your desired bedtime or else you may not be able to fall asleep after reaching home.
Studies reveal that timed exposure to bright light can help in adjusting the sleep cycle of the body. The body clock is affected by artificial bright light in the same way as it is affected by sunlight. Generally, for someone who works during the night, light treatment in the evening will be helpful. When you come back from work you might want to avoid daylight so that you can go to bed. Dark glasses would be of help.
Light boxes are available and can be purchased. It can be placed on a table. Each light therapy session can be between 15 to 30 minutes. It depends on various factors. A sleep specialist can help in developing a light therapy plan that is safe and helpful for you.
Your family has a big role to play when it comes to making you sleep better. They have to understand your sleep needs. Let them know about what a body clock is and how it affects sleep. Ask your family to keep the home silent and not too bright when you are planning to sleep. Ask them to schedule repairs and household tasks after your sleeping hours.
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