Working at night is rampant among the Indians, especially the millennials and the now emerging Generation Z, aka iGen. Unlike the Baby Boomers and the previous generations, the younger crowd prefer prepared meals. This leads more of taking outs rather than homely meals. Added to this, night shifts ravages the entire diet.
Human beings are programmed to be diurnal creatures. That is, we are active during the day hours than at night. The night is the time when our body goes into fasting mode and all the restorative, recuperative processes take place.
The unfortunate fact is that the night shift means weight gain and increased risk in heart diseases. However, with proper measures, these adverse effects can be brought down to a minimum.
So, How to start…?
Always opt for lean protein-rich foods, eggs whole foods, vegetables etc. These will keep the hunger at bay for longer periods. Find time to prepare food to carry to the office. Also, prepare food beforehand and store it to have once you reach home. Most people will be too tired to cook by the time the shift ends. Other than snacks, never eat your meals on the go or in front of your computer. You will end up eating more than what you needed do. Take a break and have your food at a slow pace.
Have healthy food options at your reach, whether you are home or at the office
When we are sleepy, we usually tend to reach out for food that is readily available. In most cases, it turns out to be junk, unhealthy items. Keep healthy food like a bowl of fresh fruits and veggies, a container of almonds and raisins at the reach of your hand, whether it be office or at home.
Majority of the night shifters are hooked to caffeine to stay awake. But this has an adverse effect on your body. True, it keeps you awake. But limit it at least four to five hours before you are off your shift. If you are a sucker for energy drinker, cut it out now. More than caffeine, such drinks contain lots of sugar, which add to your waistline. More caffeine in your system keeps you fidgety and hyperactive. This, in turn, keeps you and your body awake when you need to rest.
Prefer small meals over large hearty ones:
Heavy meals often have calories that are more than needed. In addition, it will make you drowsy during your work hours. So it is better to a snack of small but
Have a Schedule
Most night shifters have a wrecked daily schedule. Untimely sleeping hours, bad food timing and habits are a part of a majority of people working in night shifts. Some may not even sleep for the required amount of time, needed for their bodies. To avoid repercussions, it’s important that you follow a schedule. If long hours of sleep isn’t possible, break the nap times and space it out in such a way that you get your minimum seven hours. Make sure that you have your regular three times meal during the 24 hours, excluding the snacks. Implementing a schedule alone isn’t enough. Make sure that you stick to it and help your body to get into a schedule.
Physical activity aka exercise
Whatever your job schedule might be, try to incorporate some time for physical activity. It might be difficult to squeeze in some time for exercise during the day hours.
So, try to move around during office hours. You can always opt for the stairs rather than lifts. If you have been sitting for long, stand up for some time and walk around. Stretch when you get a
chance. Many companies stress on ergonomics these days while providing some guidelines for
stretching in your seat. Try to follow it religiously. Read more on sleeplessness as a disorder.
Most of the times, our body does not differentiate between hunger and thirst. It signals
it in the same way and this will result in overeating. This doesn’t mean you have to go for the
bottled drinks. Take your own water bottle and refill it whenever needed. Add a piece of citrus slice or fruit for flavor boost without added on calories. So, the next time, you get hunger pangs, reach for that water bottle.
It might not be easy. However, we need to do what we should do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Adjust it to your individual needs but you should keep in mind to have adequate sleep, eat healthily and exercise. Stay away from junk. Apart from being a killer, it makes you lethargic and grumpy and trusts me; no one wants to deal with a grumpy person during night shifts.