Many shift workers struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s easy to understand why. The body’s natural routine, or its “circadian rhythm,” is significantly disrupted when they work the night shift.
When you have less access to fresher, healthier foods, eating well can be a challenge. Shift workers may also be unable to find an eating schedule that suits them. One idea that may work well is to eat a main meal before the start of a shift in the evening. Since this meal can be eaten at home, you have more control over its nutritional content and the cooking methods used.
Once at work, it’s imperative that you bring along healthy snacks; avoid the vending machine and its processed, high-fat food at all costs! Some type of protein mixed with a small amount of carbs and fat is best because it helps you remain alert. Snacking and a light meal at break time can prevent hunger, and another light meal with healthy carbohydrates after work but before sleeping will promote rest and relaxation.
Avoiding caffeine toward the end of the shift is a must. It’s also a good idea, regardless, to replace coffee and pop with plain water or decaf tea.
Employers can help their night-shift workers in a number of ways, such as providing healthy food options, preventing tobacco use, offering 24-hour worksite gyms, and making employee wellness education available at a variety of times.