You know that sleep is important, it not only help you feel energized and perform at your best every day, it is also important to maintain optimal health but what do you do when you have a shift work?
People that work night shift face many different challenges and have a lot of problems with their health. They are disorganized, they lack human connection, they feel lonely and some of then have depression or anxiety. It´s not only that they feel tired, they can concentrate, they performance decrease, the negative impact on the long run can put their health at risk.
I mentioned before that our body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm and this clock needs to be working with our environment so that all systems and hormones on our body are on sync. People that work night shifts are working against this internal clock so it´s really hard for them to get enough sleep during day and the reason for this is because during the night there´s no light and that sends the signal to your body that it´s time to rest, recover and grow and during day there´s light so this sends the signal to your body to stay alert. Even when they may be able to fall asleep the quality of sleep won´t be as high as possible, they can be woken up by people or normal noises very easily and this can lead to insomnia or other sleep problems. They need to work on having a good schedule that helps them get the best quality of sleep possible.
Unfortunately, some people work night shifts, and this is detrimental to their health because it gets really hard to get the quality and quantity of sleep needed. If you are one of them here are some steps you can take to improve sleep:
1.- Avoid highly processed and fast foods, try to make your meals low carbohydrates and focus on getting enough healthy proteins and fats.
2.- Do some exercise before your night shift.
3.- Get bright light at night during work, get your work place with good light and use amber glasses during day.
4.- Take naps if you can
5.- Drink coffee or tea to stay alert
6.- Keep a sleep schedule and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends.
7.- Use eye mask to send the right signal through your eyes, you want total darkness.
On cases like this one you need to work and focus on the other 4 principles of fitness, food, exercise, stress and mindset. What you eat and when you eat will have a huge impact on how able you are to stay alert during your work and how fast can you fall asleep. Stress will also have a negative impact making your sleep low quality, physical activity will help you stay alert during your shift and it will also help you get better quality and quantity of sleep.
When you can´t take control of the 5 principles of fitness and you can´t make sure that you are working on all of them you need to work harder on the ones you can control so that you can reduce the negative impact of the last one.
Try to avoid working several night shift in a row and if you can avoid them do it as much as possible. Most jobs have a lunch time so taking a nap during this lunch time can be very beneficial. Make sure that you eat a healthy meal during that lunch time and use the rest of the time to take a nap.
Let me know by leaving a comment on Facebook and Twitter if you work night shifts and how you manage to get sleep or if you are having troubles getting enough high quality sleep.
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