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10 Tips to Stay Healthy While Working Night Shifts

If you are a night owl, night shifts might seem like a dream to you! Until you realize your new lifestyle impacts your health! Many professionals have difficulty staying up during their night shifts and often tend to forget their health during the journey. This is completely understandable because changing your shifting time can affect your lifestyle. As your daily routine changes, you will likely skip meals, get addicted to unhealthy junk foods, sleep less, and ditch exercise.

Your work may be anything in this category: a security guard, customer service representative, air traffic controller, nightlife bartender, IT professional, LPN, ADN, or RN to BSN nurse, or you can even be a firefighter! We all live our lives in a routine of nature’s clock! Changing your routine into night shifts might seem hard, but here are 10 tips to keep up with your health and be productive throughout your shift!

1. Get as Much as Sleep You Can

Get as much as sleep you can get! According to the sleep foundation, adults (ages 26 – 64) need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep to perform at their best. Manage your sleep patterns, set a time to sleep and wake up, and follow this schedule! Stay away from activities that will make you awake! Avoid alcohol before going to bed, alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but it will deeply affect your sleep quality. And also, avoid smoking before bedtime!

2. Stock Up on Healthy Foods

Stick with a high-protein food diet. Do include more vegetables, fruits, peanut butter, nuts, and other healthy foods. Stock up on healthy foods and stick to a healthy pattern! Eat healthy snacks or light meals. Choosing foods that are easy for your body to digest will be good.

3. Drink More Water

Drink plenty of water. Always keep a full bottle of water before your shift starts; this will be a visual reminder to drink more water! We often forget to drink water, so consider setting an alarm every 30 minutes during your shift! Replace sugared or caffeinated drinks with water! Fruit-infused water bottles are a healthy option; you may want to consider the following combinations: lemon, cucumber-lime, strawberry-kiwi, and cucumber-blueberry!

4. Exercise Appropriately

Exercising can keep your health good! Night shift workers should avoid early morning workouts because this will make falling asleep even harder, and you will be weak all day. Take stairs and walk up and down during your break time or shifts; this will be good exercise for your body and as well as this will help you to stay awake.

5. Stick to a Schedule

Stick to a good schedule and follow this! Set a timer for when you will wake up, sleep, what you’ll eat, when you, when you prepare your food when to socialize, and all. It may be difficult to seem to follow, but not following a strict schedule will affect your health and sleep! Stick to a healthy diet; if you’re eating too much during your night shifts, you may gain weight in the long run!

6. Cut Down the Caffeine

Avoid tea, soda, coffee, or any other caffeinated drinks that interfere with your sleeping routine. During your break time, drink orange juice to keep you active during your shift; orange juice is also a good source of protein! If you feel too sleepy, walk around the office, listen to your favorite song, chat with your colleagues, exercise during your break hours, wash your face, or go out and feel some fresh air.

7. Stop Unhealthy Snacking

One of the issues with working during night shifts is feeling sleepy or tired and hungry at random times! Avoid junk foods or many sweet foods! Energy foods are the first to be eliminated from your list! Do not cook and store your food for a longer time! Stay away from foods that take more time to digest. Avoid spicy, fried, or processed meals.

8. Set Up a Support Network

Your loved ones should know that you are working the night shift, so let them know your time schedule, also. List a close friend, your roommate, or your neighbor as an immediate contact person, so you can switch off your phone when sleeping! If anything emergency happens, they will contact them. A sleep study proved what we have suspected – people who have their phones on in the room where they sleep will have difficulty falling asleep!

9. Set an Environment to Sleep

Changing your sleep pattern can reflect your health! Keep the environment in your room cool! Your eyes are sensitive to light; even when the window is closed, it prevents you from dozing off. To get the best sleep, darken your bedroom by investing in darker shades of blinds and other furniture! Avoid continuous use of sleeping pills or other medications which interfere with normal sleep patterns. Invest in a box fan or white noise machine to block outside noises!

10. Plan B

Always set a plan B! It’s just a simple rule, Health Before Job! You might currently be working in a position where you wish you wanted to be, BUT if your dream job costs your health, always follow plan B! You can request your higher officials to change your shift time or look for another job! Not everyone is adaptable to changing their routine; it may cause serious health issues in some people! It might seem hard for you, but if you don’t follow this rule, there will be a time when you regret not choosing a plan B!