More than 15 million Americans work permanent night shifts or regularly rotate in and out of graveyard shifts, meaning a massive part of the nation’s workforce often gets exposed to the hazards of working at night. These dangers can deteriorate one’s over health and well-being. However, nurses, doctors, and other people who work nights need to stay healthy too.
Here’s what night shifts can do to you and how you can fight them — and stay healthy and happy.
- Disrupts Natural Sleep Rhythms — Sleep is essential for one’s overall health because when you sleep, your body removes toxins in its system, heals injuries, and reduces stress. Working night shifts can interfere with these crucial processes.
- Increase Risk Of Hypertension — When you work the night shift, there’s a 70% chance that you’d suffer from a heart attack thanks to high blood pressure or hypertension.
- Negative Impact on Mental Health — Working night shifts can adversely affect your mental health, leading to an increased risk of developing depression.
Exercise When Possible
If you have days with more free time, find the time to do an exercise regimen. Taking a dip at your own swimming pools is a relaxing activity that can get your heart pumping and mind calm, making it a great stress-buster after a long day at work. However, on days where you can’t squeeze in a regular workout regimen, try staying active throughout the day.
Get as Much Sleep As You Can
Getting enough sleep is crucial for a person’s overall health. However, it can be challenging to achieve when working the night shift. A common issue with working night shifts is the risk of developing sleeping disorders or sleep deprivation. You can fight this by recreating a night-time atmosphere whenever you sleep during the day. You can do this by making your room as dark as possible, turn your phone off, and use earplugs to mask the usual daytime noises.
Opt for Healthy Foods
When working night shifts, you may feel yourself getting tired or hungry at random times, leading to adverse health issues. A great way you can set yourself up for a happier and healthier graveyard shift is by replacing your usual junk foods with healthy alternatives. So, even if you do end up binge eating due to tiredness or irritability, you can ensure you’re only eating the good stuff. Granola bars and carrot sticks are great snack options.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Although you can take your regular cup of coffee during the first hours of your shift, avoiding caffeine later can do wonders. That’s because it won’t affect you falling asleep when you get home. Avoid taking any caffeine-fueled stimulants for at least 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep. Remember that though drinking a glass of wine after work sounds tempting, it can confuse your sleeping patterns, so it’s best to avoid it.
Many people, particularly in the medical sector, will have to work night shifts at some point in their careers. The grueling hours can take a toll on your body, mind, and overall health, making it critical to take care of yourself. Watch out for the signs mentioned to address the possible issues fast, making you healthier and happier while working the night shift.