As much as we want everybody to have the regular 8 to 5 job, we can’t just deny the fact that not all jobs were made for this kind of set-up. Whether you’re a call center agent, doctor, nurse, home-based employee or just a regular student who is sacrificing a good night sleep to finish a research paper, keeping one’s productivity intact until the wee hours of the morning is definitely not a piece of cake. It requires both physiological and psychological adjustments that can be taxing especially for someone who just transitioned from a normal shift to graveyard shift. It’s nice to have a job that pays decently but if you don’t help yourself thrive in this shift, your health will surely pay the price. But when it comes to a sudden reversal of our circadian rhythm, there are healthy ways that you can follow so that your “shift work” won’t turn into “s@$t work”. Here are five of them:
It seems a little too discouraging but according to experts, even a 10-minutes worth of stretching or light exercises can help you relax and keep you awake at the same time. Heart-related diseases continue to be the most prevalent health problem among shift workers especially those who work in the BPO industry so taking time to stretch those muscles for a brief period of time can go a long way. Exercise can decrease the stress hormones called cortisol in the body so it can literally help you become calmer and more at ease. Doing simple stretching exercises or yoga before going to work or even during work is advisable but doing this just before you sleep is not for the simple reason that exercise can help you awake for long periods of time.
Most of the shift workers look at fast food chains as the place to go but if we’re going to talk about health, it will be better to plan ahead than get extra calories from those fast food alternatives. There are two important items that a shift worker must never forget to include in his list and these are water/energy drink and any food that is high in fiber. Keeping oneself well-hydrated is actually a way to avoid gaining extra weight because thirst is confused with hunger more often than not. High-fiber meals release energy slower than a regular sweet food so one will be assured of a regular supply of energy throughout the stressful shift. And if you want to munch some snacks, you better grab an ounce of nuts because they are high in fiber but are also rich in healthy fats. Eating meals within two hours before going to bed is never recommended for two reasons: First, the digestion process will just keep you awake and second, it will just give you few extra pounds of body fats.
Working in a graveyard shift should never be an excuse to get a good 8 hours of sleep. However, with all the environmental distractions both inside and outside your home, getting a pleasant sleep can even be as challenging as staying awake all night. But it doesn’t mean that you should let these factors overpower you; in other words, do something about it. You can talk to your family members about your work so they can also make some adjustments or you can use earplugs, turn on some relaxing music, make your room darker; whatever it is that works for you. Just keep in mind that sleeping pills or aids should never be on top of your priorities because it can possibly bring you more harm than good. Talk to your doctor first and then weigh your options to see if using these agents will work for you.
Adjust the lights
Most people become more productive with bright lights and get sleepier when exposed to dim lights so to help your body clock adapt, you must adjust the lights depending on your existing needs. If you’re working, then artificial lights will definitely give you a working environment that will boost your productivity and if you are about to sleep and bright lights makes sleeping more difficult for you to achieve, providing your room with dark covers will obviously do the trick.
Drink some caffeine
Okay, we all know that coffee any of us awake but overdoing it can put our own health in peril. Caffeine can keep us mentally alert for about 6 hours so make sure you don’t drink a glass of it two hours before going to bed. You can also add some skim milk so that you can get some healthy supply of extra proteins to keep you energized. Experts recommend 200-300 mg of caffeine per day for those who considers shift works as their bread and butter.
Everyone needs a job to survive but regardless if its a regular day job or something that requires daily adjustments to graveyard shifts, we must never forget to put health at the top of our priorities. We should never let our jobs took over our whole lives and put our health in great risk. To work is one thing but earning money and making sure that our body gets the pampering it deserves is an achievement that will keep us alive and kicking for the years to come.