Dr Sujit Paul
Being active during the day and resting at night is the natural phenomenon our body has been following since ancient times. But if you are a working professional whose shift starts at night, this natural phenomenon might not apply in your day-to-day life. So, how to balance it and stay healthy? Your circadian rhythm controls how different types of chemicals are released inside your body. So when it is out of sync, it can cause problems like heart disease, weight gain, indigestion, etc. Here are some basic and helpful tips that can help you stay healthy if you work night shifts
Get enough sleep: Sleep is an essential part of healthy lifestyle more so for a night-shift employee. It can be difficult to sleep during the day as our body is not naturally designed for this. Try to recreate the night-like atmosphere when you sleep during the day. Make sure your room is dark and the phone is switched off. Wear an eye mask and earplugs to avoid distraction.
Regular exercise: Having a regular exercise routine helps you manage your weight and keeps you fit. Sticking to a routine can help night-shift workers in regulating sleeping habits; have better energy levels and mental health. Try to schedule the exercise time somewhere near your working hours.
Healthy meals: Feeling tired and hungry during the night shift schedule is a common problem. Make sure there is healthy food available both at home and at work.
Say no to alcohol: Avoid alcohol before going to bed. It may give you good sleep for 2-3 hours but it will give you a hard time afterwards.
Take a break in between: Go for a walk or listen to music. Let your brain relax for an hour or so. On your off days, try to balance the routine.
Avoid foods high in iron at night: Don’t eat red meat or other iron-rich foods at night. It can increase glucose metabolism problems.
Get some sun: It is natural that night-shift workers will sleep during the day. But don’t forget to get some vitamin D nourishment. Get some sunlight.
Eat foods rich in protein: Include paneer, fish, lean chicken, lentils, seasonal vegetables etc in your diet. This will help in building a good metabolism.
Avoid caffeine and sugar: Don’t drink sugary beverages or coffee, tea, coke etc. as these affect sleep.
Prepare meals in advance: If it’s difficult to prepare nutritious meals every day, then cook meals in advance and pack a healthy tiffin daily.
These simple steps will help you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
—The writer is managing director, StayHappi Pharmacy