Expert-Recommended Diet And Exercise Tips For People In Night Shifts
There are many problems associated with night shifts as they make your body work against the circadian rhythm. Here's how you can prevent night shifts from affecting your health.
Stay hydrated during night shifts
- Cut down on caffeine intake during night shifts
- Keep healthy snacks handy during night shifts to prevent hunger pangs
- Do stretching exercises every one or two hours of your shift
If you are working in night shifts, then you must be experiencing them these regularly: sleepiness, fatigue, tiredness, back pain, headaches, migraine, etc. If some of the previous studies on night shifts are to be believed, they are likely to increase risks of miscarriage during pregnancy. Night shifts have also been associated with negative impact on bladder, early menopause, diabetes and obesity to name a very few. Thus, it is extremely important to take extra care of your health if you are working in night shifts.
How do night shift affect your health?
There are many problems associated with night shifts as they make your body work against the circadian rhythm, says nutritionist Neha Dhulla. Circadian rhythm refers to the body's natural body clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the body. Circadian rhythm is the reason why you tend to feel sleepy at certain time and alert at other times of the day. Along with disrupted circadian rhythm, poor diet and lack of exercise can make you prone to various health issues if you are working in night shifts.
Diet tips to stay healthy in night shifts
1. Cut down caffeine intake: If coffee or energy drinks help you keep up through night shifts, it's time to cut them off! Caffeine can affect your sleep pattern through the day. Disrupted sleep can make for room for autoimmune diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, etc.
2. Diet: Try to have a small meal before your shift begins. Large meals at night can cause digestion issues, heartburn, constipation and gas. To beat hunger pangs through the night, keep healthy snacks handy with you. Fruits, khakra, sprouts, ghee roasted makhanas, nuts and seeds and yogurt are all healthy snacking options during night shift. Stay away from salty and sugary snacks during your shift.
3. Stay hydrated: Keeping yourself hydrated will avoid lethargy and will help in maintaining alertness. Drink enough water. You can also opt for beverages like herbal tea/ lime juice (minus the sugar) throughout the night. Avoid consumption of sugary drinks as they might give you a temporary energy rush but will leave you craving for more sugar.
4. Do not keep yourself hungry: Mere lack of options or work pressure cannot be the reason for you to stay hungry. Keep eating healthy snacks mentioned above throughout your night shift and have a light snack just before going to bed.
Exercise tips for people in night shifts
1. In every one or two hours, do simple stretching exercises. They will help you stay alert and work more efficiently.
2. Walk a few steps every hour of your shift.
3. Use the steps and ditch the elevator wherever possible.
4. Take out a minimum of half an hour of exercising, even if you are in night shifts. You can do spot jogging, yoga, high intensity interval training or the tabata workout if you are falling short of time.
(Neha Dhulla, Manager - Clinical Practices and Nutrition, Digestive Health Institute by Dr. Muffi)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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