Have you got a dream job that asks you to work at night shift? You have no other choice but to take up the offer by compromising on other things. While you might find a position in the field you want to work in, that doesn't mean you will earn the salary you want.
It also does not mean you will have the opportunity to work the kind of shift you want. Going to work from nine o'clock in the morning until six o'clock in the evening isn't a luxury that everyone has.
And, obviously, working at night shift takes a toll on your health. Because working at night shifts can upset your body's internal clock. Your internal clock tells your body to stay awake during the day and to sleep at night.
If you are working at night shift, science has shown that losing weight and keeping it off can be harder on you than others. Why? A 2014 study found that night shift patterns affect the metabolism of employees, causing them to use less energy than they normally should over the course of a day.
When you work at night shifts, you may find it difficult to know when to eat and what to eat.
So, here's some quick guide about the eating schedule for night shift workers.
1. Eat Your Main Meal First
Eat your main meal before heading to work. If you work on the afternoon shift, have your main meal at mid-day around noon. If you work on the evening shift, eat your main meal at around 6 PM before you go to work. Have a small meal and consume healthy snacks during your shift. Consuming large meals during the night can cause heartburn, gas, and constipation. It can also make you feel sleepy and sluggish and be careful not to eat too much while working.
2. Pack Your Own Healthy Snacks
It is better that you pack your own healthy snacks. Because it can be difficult to find healthy snacks during the afternoon and night shifts. Your office may only have salty or high-fat snacks, and high-calorie sugary drinks for employees. You can take healthy snacks like an apple with a small piece of low-fat cheese or a handful of nuts with low-fat yogurt.
3. Avoid Fatty Foods
While working at night shifts, avoid fatty, fried and spicy foods. Foods such as fried chicken, spicy chillies and burgers may lead to heartburn and indigestion. Eating too much of fatty foods can also increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Too much saturated fats in your food can raise bad cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Good (HDL) cholesterol has a positive effect on the body.
4. Eat Small Meals
To keep your body going throughout the entire night shift, do not just plan your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, plan to eat several small meals every two to three hours throughout the night. This will not only help keep hunger at bay, but will provide you with the energy you need to stay awake and do your work. Also, have dinner well before you report to your job. This will give you energy to perform your work effectively.
5. Well Hydrate Your Body
It is essential that you keep your body well hydrated. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, as it may help you to stay alert and won't let you feel so tired during your shift. Keep a water bottle on your desk and take sips even before you feel thirsty. Apart from water, drink unsweetened herbal tea, and lower sodium 100% vegetable juices are the other nutritious beverages that you can drink.
6. Go For Protein
From the time you wake up in the morning till your shift, avoid foods rich in carbohydrates as much as possible. Because sweets and sugary products are full of carbohydrates that will only make you feel drowsy. So, opt for healthy protein foods like eggs, milk, and chicken that will keep your stomach full for a longer period of time and will keep hunger at bay.
7. Watch The Caffeine Intake
Drinking tea, coffee and other caffeinated beverages can help you stay alert. But don't consume more than 400 mg of caffeine a day, that is the amount of caffeine found in two to three small cups of regular coffee. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours. Switch to decaffeinated drinks, unsweetened herbal tea or water about four hours before bedtime.
8. Have A Light Snack Before Bedtime
It is hard to fall asleep when you are too hungry or too full. If you are still feeling hungry after work, eat a small healthy snack before bedtime. You can try a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk or a piece of whole grain toast with jam. If you are too full at bedtime, try cutting out a snack during your night shift.
9. Night Shift Dinner Choices
Choose lean protein like poultry, tuna or beans and fibre-filled whole grains and vegetables for sustained energy to help keep you charged up through your night shift. Consider packing your dinner and then warm it up in a microwave and refrigerator. Pack a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread, a brown rice salad made with chicken breast or tofu and chopped veggies or a hearty vegetable and bean soup.
Tips To Stay Healthy While Working At The Night Shifts
- Stick to your sleeping routine.
- Keep yourself active.
- Eat nutritious foods.
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