Health effects of work at night shifts

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Proper nutrition becomes a real nightmare for those for whom the time of breakfast usually falls at the time of dinner. Unfortunately, quite a lot of people work on night shifts and often ask a question on how to deal with maintaining a diet in such a situation.

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You can get used to working at night shifts. There is evidence that after some time you can adapt to work at night, but for some people, it can be much more difficult than for others.

Canadian scientists have studied the duration of sleep, the level of light and the quality of the sleep hormone on a small group of policemen when they worked on night shifts. Usually, the sleep hormone is released in the body late in the evening. Then we start to feel tired and prepare for sleep. But when it comes to adapting to work at night, the hormone starts to be released in the morning. The results of the research showed that the police, who managed to adapt to night shifts, and the level of the sleep hormone in their body increased in the morning, they felt happier and showed a quick response. However, only 40% of the respondents showed a full adaptation.

During a larger study in which 3,000 policemen took part from Canada and the USA, it turned out that those who did not manage to adapt were suffering from sleep disorders.
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Even if you belong to the group that you can adapt to work at night, there is a risk that your body will suffer if this situation continues in the long run. Other issues are not directly related to the adaptation of the body to work at night.

It is very difficult to observe the regularity of nutrition when working on night shifts. In proper nutrition, the important role is played by eating meals at constant times. When a man works at night, mealtimes are disturbed. If the work consisted only of going to work for the night, there would be no bigger problems. Unfortunately, there are still days off, during which we function like most of the society, that is during the day, but also sometimes it happens that we work in the following way night shift – free – daily change – free – night shift. Then there is not even talk about eating meals at fixed times.

By working on night shifts you will have less time for physical exertion. If after work during the day the chances of getting to the gym are quite big, then after working on the night shift, morning training is already very difficult.

Other health effects of work at night shifts

There may also be other negative effects of night work. One study showed that one night shift would be enough to increase blood pressure. Also, a study at the University of Surrey showed that people who worked at night and slept during five weeks had compromised regulation of glucose in the body and changes in metabolism, which could increase the risk of developing type II diabetes and lead to obesity in the long run.

Proper nutrition for those working at night shifts

The sentence of proper nutrition for those working night shifts is at least weird in the light of the information given above, but if you can not change your job, you should at least try to reduce the negative effects of such a lifestyle.

Below you will find some tips on how to reconcile proper nutrition with night work

– eat meals the same as during the day, which is more or less

every 3-4 hours. The last meal should be eaten not later than an hour before bedtime;

– remember that if sleep during the day lasts less than 7 hours, the daily caloric balance must be smaller than normal;

– try to avoid heavy products when you have a night shift;

– meat and fish are best eaten during the day. During the night, digestive processes slow down, hence animal protein should be consumed in smaller amounts;

– do not give up eating at night.

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