Diet for Night Shift Workers and Risks of Night Work

Night shift may affect your job safety and health. Night shift job and work is likely to affect physical health. Shift workers work outside the universal time period. Estimation states that three out of every ten workers in Canada work in shift routine. This irregular time can upset the body conditions. Here you will know diet for night shift workers and the possible risks of night work.

Studies have shown that over millions of Americans work the permanent night shift or regularly rotate in and out of night shifts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is to say that a significant sector of the nation’s workforce is exposed to the hazards of working nights, which include sleepiness, restlessness, fatigue, decreased attention and disruption of the body’s metabolic process.

diet for night workers

Diet For Night Workers

Sleepiness, restlessness, fatigue goes beyond the workers, as many others share the road with night-driving truckers, count on the precision of emergency-room workers and rely on the protection of police and national security personnel at all hours. In fact, any worker who must drive while tired — whether it’s on the job or driving home after a night shift.

Diet for Night Shift Workers

Those, who are working in night shift, should change their appetite, and follow these healthy tips.

• Eat meal before you go out for work. It is better to have small meal during work hours. Eating large meals at work may cause sluggish behavior. It can also cause sleepiness or heartburn.
• Avoid spicy, fried and fatty foods. Fried chicken, hamburger, and spicy chili can cause dyspepsia. High fat intake will be problematic and it can increase the chance of diabetes, and heart disease.
• Avoid sugary and soda drinks at work. They offer instant energy but it is harmful in long run. Try having healthy and nutritious snacks, prepare them at home, to stay energetic at work.

• Try to stay hydrated. Take plenty of water, it will help staying alert and will not let you tired at work. Keeping own water bottle is the best option and taking every sip when you feel thirsty will help greatly.
• Avoid alcohol. It is bad when used during and after work, no matter if you are hungry or full. Utilize whole grains or toast with jam, if you carve something after work. Maintain healthy body weight as it will help you stay active all the time and will lower the risk of getting diabetes, heart disease and cancer kinds.

On how exactly night work affects cognitive performance, Psychologists reveals they are gradually gaining a better understanding of it with interventions and policies that could keep workers and the entire public safer.
According to Bryan Vila, a sleep expert and criminal justice researcher at Washington State University “The basic take-home is that fatigue decreases safety,” Learning healthy sleeping practices are “just as important as occupational training,” he says. Healthy diet for night shift workers works effectively.

Natural Rhythms

Charmane Eastman, Ph.D., a physiological psychologist at Rush University in Chicago, says that working at night runs counter to the body’s natural circadian rhythm. However, poor scheduling combined with unhealthy attitudes about the need for sleep causes of significant problems for night workers.

The body system and brains are meant to relax and cool down at night and to spring back into action at dawn/ morning. Therefore, individuals on night shift must combat their bodies’ natural rest period while trying to remain alert and high functioning. No matter the amount of quality sleep one gets during the daytime it won’t make up for circadian misalignment.

Researchers have shown that is dangerous for people whose jobs require them to be awake and alert during the night to make life-or-death decisions such as medical personnel or police officers. However, it’s common for police departments, for example, to require rookies and lower-ranking officers to bear the brunt of night shifts. Often time the will work a few days during regular daytime hours, then either work an extra-long shift that carries on until the morning or takes a day off, rest, then work a full night shift.

Research Evidences

According to John Violanti, Ph.D., an organizational psychologist who was a New York state trooper for 23 years, seesaw scheduling approach is a doubly bad idea.
Vila’s research reveals that many people seek night shifts to get overtime pay and roughly 40 percent of the nation’s 861,000 police officers work more than 12 hours a day — that is to say that almost half of the police workforce suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia or excessive sleepiness.

The research, however, records that working against a person’s natural sleep cycle causes such sleep disorders, as well as fatigue. There is no doubt that fatigue decreases cognitive abilities and reflexes, and makes people more vulnerable to disease. It is helpful to follow healthy diet for night shift workers.

Aside from getting off duties after a long night shift, night work and fatigue also contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer. Research conducted on New York police officers looked for metabolic syndrome — a combination of symptoms that contribute to poor heart health and diabetes, including large waist circumference, elevated triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high levels of glucose when not eating. All these symptoms and disease suggest following diet for night shift workers.

The research findings revealed that officers who most frequently worked the 8 p.m.-to-4 a.m. shift had the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome symptoms. Part of the results discovered that people who worked night shift and also averaged fewer than six hours of sleep were four times more likely than other officers to have metabolic syndrome.

Aside Police officers whom the research was conducted on, many studies found that fatigue due to prolonged work hours or being called into work in the middle of the night can result in lapses in judgment and impaired motor skills among medical and night-shift workers suffering from circadian misalignment. For instance, well-rested surgeons were significantly smoother in their hand motions and made fewer errors than did their sleep-deprived counterparts when performing “surgery” on a virtual patient.

The publication established that medical interns whose shifts lasted longer than 24 hours were more than twice as likely to have a car crash and five times as likely to have a driving near-miss after leaving work as interns who worked shorter shifts.

What Are The Possible Solutions of Night Work?

Is it confident that many workers cannot give up working at night, but we must find out how these night workers can adapt to their schedules and incorporate healthy diet tips.
Rush University’s Eastman gave two ways possible for this. She suggests the first method as symptomatic relief by using stimulants such as coffee and caffeine pills to stay awake during the night, then taking sedatives to sleep in the morning.
The second method is to shift the body’s circadian clock so that it better tolerates working at night and sleeping during the day.

According to Eastman and her team who are working on exploring the latter approach say “circadian clock’ is very stubborn and hard to push around. It is clear through previous researchers that one can delay the circadian clock by about one or two hours per day. In order to determine its possibility, body’s circadian rhythm was measured by researchers thereby. Healthy diet for night shift workers is critical to perform better.

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