Working nights is not just physically tiring but it can also pose some serious health threats if not managed well. A lot of people are all too familiar with the sacrifices that go with working the graveyard shift but because they need to put food on the table, they plow through and carry on to get through life.
If you’re one of those noble heroes working nights, understand that you need to take care of your health for you to remain productive at work and at the top of your game.
Here are some health tips that will do wonders for night-time workers:
1. Establish a routine and keep it.
Establishing a routine is one of the cheapest ways that you can stay healthy while you’re assigned to a night shift. Take whatever routine works for you and keep it as regular as possible.
Your routine might look a little something like this:
- wake up
- grab a meal
- go to work
- take breaks
- go home
- check your PO box for important mails
- spend time with your loved ones
You can come up with your own variation but the important thing is to keep it as regular as possible just like you would if you had a daytime shift.
2. Ask your household for support and help.
When your work schedule has turned your days into nights and your nights into days, it’s harder to get good quality sleep, especially in a busy household. Take time to talk to members of your family about how you need to be well-rested during the day so that you are fully-functional for your nighttime shift. Ask them to extend patience and understanding your way whenever you need peace and quiet or when you can’t help out as much around the house as you normally would when on a daytime schedule.
Having a better understanding of what you’re going through will make it easier for them to give you all the support and help you need.
3. Build a good sleeping routine.
Since getting enough sleep is the main concern most nightshift workers have, you need to make sure that your bedroom is conducive to daytime rest and that you practice good sleep hygiene at all times. Doing this helps you avoid any sleeping disorder from taking place which is very common for those who work the graveyard shift.
4. Make sleep one of your non-negotiable priorities.
It goes without saying that a good night’s or day’s sleep is crucial to maintaining good health and an alert mind. This is why sleep should be prioritized above all else.
5. Be wise with your caffeine intake.
Most people believe that you need to consume a lot of caffeine to survive nighttime jobs. While caffeine does help jolt you and keep you up, you need to be wise with your intake. One, you need to be mindful of the time of your caffeine consumption and make sure you don’t take it near your bedtime. Two, stay away from energy drinks that are high in caffeine and sugar as they have certain negative effects on one’s health.
6. Eat right.
Working in shifts has been found to increase metabolic problems so having the right diet will help make you a lot healthier despite your current working conditions. Consider prepping your meals and snacks in advance as it gives you more control over what you put in your body.
7. Avoid getting dehydrated.
If you’re getting enough quality sleep and you’re eating right, staying hydrated throughout your shift will help keep you alert and energized. Do your best to stay away from sugary drinks and sodas as these could lead to a spike in your blood sugar and make you crash afterward. Experts recommend that men should take about 16 cups of water while women should get around 11 cups a day.
8. Get active and fit.
Working from dusk until dawn on a regular basis will take its toll on your health if you’re not careful. It increases the risk of heart diseases and other physical conditions. One of the best ways to prevent this is by improving your immune system with a consistent exercise program. It not only helps you manage your weight and health but also improves your mood and cognitive function.
Different people have different responses to exercise. Some get tired after working out while others get more energized. Consider how your body reacts to working out and work your exercise schedule around it.
9. Minimize stress.
Late-night shifts are known to have adverse psychological effects on certain individuals. This is why mental health should be one of the things you should prioritize. Work in itself can already be very stressful, but working nights amplifies that. Take care of mental health by doing things that allow you to reflect, meditate, and nurture your mind and soul.
Working the night shift can and will take its toll on your body especially if you don’t take good care of it. It’s hard to be alert and productive at your job if your health and wellbeing are compromised because of unhealthy practices. Start building the right habits so that you can stay at the top of your game despite working nights.